The Odyssey Reading Guide

who is speaking in the opening scene? Homer
what is a muse? 9 daughters of Zeus with jobs to inspire people
what happened in Troy? Trojan War
where is Odysseus, “the contender”, trying to go? home (Ithaca)
which god is plotting against Odysseus? Poseidon
which goddess is trying to help Odysseus? Athena
how long did the Trojan War last? 10 years
how many years has Odysseus spent trying to return home? 10 years (7 on the island with Calypso)
who is Calypso and what is her relationship to Odysseus? a nymph who loves Odysseus
who is narrating the story? Odysseus
who is Hermes and what is his mission? messenger of the gods who is trying to get Calypso to release Odysseus
who is Calypso secretly jealous of? Penelope
how does Odysseus regard his wife Penelope while he is away? he loves and misses her very much
how does Calypso assist Odysseus on his journey home? helps build a raft and gives him supplies
what tragedy strikes Odysseus at sea? a hurricane and his ship wrecks
how is Odysseus treated on the island of Scheria, home of King Alcinous? they treat him as a noble guest
describe Ithaca Odysseus’ home which he is very proud of
from his self introduction, how does Odysseus view himself? very confident in himself
what happens at his first stop, Ismaros, land of the Cicones, on his journey home? he successfully attacks the island but his men become drunk and stop listening to him
what dangers did Odysseus and his men encounter when they landed on the Lotus Eater’s island? they no longer wanted to return home
what did they eat to get this feeling of never wanting to return home? plants called lotuses
how did Odysseus solve the problem with the lotus eaters? he tied his men to benches and stopped eating the lotuses
describe the Cyclops one eyed monster; son of Poseidon
what was the Cyclops’ response when Odysseus told him of their ship wreck? he asked where the ship was
what plan did Odysseus contrive to divert Cyclops? get him drunk and blind him so they could sneak out
what is ironic about the use of the name “Nobody” by Odysseus? it sounds like nobody
after blinding the Cyclops, how do Odysseus and his men escape the cave? hide under the sheep herd
how does the Cyclops hope to avenge his injury from Odysseus? prays to Poseidon to curse Odysseus
in what ways did Odysseus calling out to the Cyclops endanger his men? by taunting the Cyclops, he told him his real name so now the Cyclops can get revenge
what customs of Greek society are observed in the book? hospitality to strangers
what assistance does King Aeolus give Odysseus and why isn’t it successful? a bag of wind but his men open it
summarize what happens on the island of Laistrygones cannibals kills and eat some of his men
why were his men drawn to Circe? she’s pretty, has a good voice, gave them food and drinks
what did Circe begin turning his crew into? pigs
why did Circe’s plan fail on Odysseus? Hermes gave him a magical herb
why must Odysseus go to Hades, the land of the dead? he has to talk to a blind oracle for directions home
how does Odysseus summon the spirit of Tiresias? told he must pray and sacrifice a black lamb
what advice does Tiresias give about the island of Thrinakia? to stay away from cattle
if Odysseus does’t follow the advice about the cattle, what does the spirit foretell? it will bring great destruction for his ship and crew
what advice does Circe give Odysseus when he returns from Hades? advice about the sirens, scylla, and charybdis
who are the sirens? and what danger do they propose? 2 beautiful girls who lure sailors to their death
how did Odysseus keep himself and his men safe when going past the sirens? beeswax in ears and tied to the mast of the ship
describe scylla and charybdis scylla-6 headed sea monster. charybdis- a dangerous whirlpool
which of the two, scylla or charybdis, was the lesser of the two evils? and why? scylla because charybdis would kill all of his men but the sea monster would only eat some of his men
who owns the cattle on the island of Thrinakia? Helios
why did Odysseus’ men end up eating the cattle? they completely ran out of supplies and had to eat something
what threat did Helios make in response to the death of his cattle? asked for Zeus to punish them or Helios would go to the underworld instead of olympus
who punished Odysseus’ men for eating the cattle? Zeus uses lightening bolt
who survives the punishment from Zeus and his lightening bolt? Odysseus is the only one who survives
who helps him return to Ithaca after 20 years? Phaeacians
who do Odysseus visit when he gets home and how is he disguised? he visits Eumias (swine herder) and he is dressed as a beggar
where did Telemachus go while Odysseus was gone? to Sparta and Pilos to talk to friends about his mother’s suitors
what news does Athena share with Telemachus? suitors are planning on marrying Penelope and killing him so they can be king
when Telemachus returns to Ithaca, who does he visit first and why? visits Eumias because Athena told him to
what important Greek value does Telemachus’ treatment of the unknown beggar reveal? hospitality to strangers
how does Athena transform Odysseus just before he reveals his identity to Telemachus? takes away beggar disguise and makes him look like he did before he left
why is it ironic that Odysseus should return to Ithaca as a beggar? he is really the king
what is Argos’ condition when he sees him? old and sickly (represents condition of Ithaca)
what tale does the beggar tell Penelope? makes up stuff about Odysseus because the truth is too painful
how is Penelope’s interview with the beggar ironic? she tells him she is trying to find her husband but in reality he is her husband
who recognized Odysseus when he returns? Eurycleia (a servant) notices his scar/birthmark on his foot
what do we learn about Penelope in her interview with the beggar? she remained loyal for 20 years but she is growing weary
why do you think Odysseus continues to keep his identity hidden from his wife? wants to see if she will be faithful
how does Penelope suggest she is looking for Odysseus by the test of the bow? the only one who can do it is Odysseus
what does Penelope promise the winner of the contest? her hand in marriage
who else does Odysseus reveal his identity to? the swineherd and the cowherd

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