The Odyssey Study guide questions

The faithful wife to Odysseus. Penelope
The means by which Odysseus is recognized by his nurse. A scar on his leg he recieved from a boar when he was a child.
The god of the Sun; owner of the cattle which Odysseus’s men ate. Helios
Helen’s husband; king of Sparta. Menelaus
A sign of good or bad luck to come. An omen (which is a reoccouring theme throughout the book)
They were very important to the Greeks; presents. Gifts
King of the gods; lives on Mt. Olympus. Zeus
King of Mycene; leader of the Greeks during the Trojan War; murdered by his wife & her lover. Agamemnon
A mortal whom the gods have given control of the winds. Aeolus
One of Odysseus’ crew; was drunk & fell from Circe’s roof. Elpenor
Wife of Menelaus; the Prince of Troy abducted her. Helen
Odysseus’ Father. Laertes
God of the sea; seeks revenge on Odysseus for blinding his son. Poseidon
King of the Phaecians; gives Odysseus passage to Ithaca. Alkinoos
A plate like object that is thrown in contests. (such as the olympics) Discus
The ruler of the underworld; brother to Zeus and Poseidon. Hades
The men who wanted to marry Penelope. The Suitors
The Cyclops who captured Odysseus & was blinded by them. (also Poseidon’s son) Polyphemus
The wife and murderer of Agamemnon Clytiamnestra
Guarded by Hades; the place where the dead go. The Underworld
Why had Odysseus not yet returned home from the Trojan War? He angered the god Poseidon by blinding his son. Poseidon had placed obstacles in his way so he had not yet been able to return home.
At Odysseus’ house in Ithaca, we are introduced to the suitors. What are they doing in the house? They are waiting for Penelope to make up her mind on which one she was going to marry. While they waited, they ate and drunk all of the food that Penelope had in her house.
To whom does Athene refer when she says: “They all would find death was quick, and marriage a painful matter?” She is refering to the suitors.
What happens at the homecoming of Agamemnon? He is murdered by his wife, Clytaimnestra, and her lover, Aigisthos.
Why is Menelaus to go to the Elysian Field instead of dying as other mortals do? He is the husband of Helen, and the son-in-law of Zeus, and he will not die.
Which god or goddess brings a message from Zeus to Calypso? Hermes does.
What happens to Odysseus on the 18th day, just as he sights the shores of Skheria? Poseidon, returning from a vacation in Ethiopia, sees the raft. In a rage he creates a storm which destroys the raft.
What help does Ino give to Odysseus? She gives him her magic veil which allows him to survive the long swim to Skheria.
Odysseus is insulted by Seareach. What does he accuse Odysseus of being? A man concerned with only buisness and profits, not with athletics.
Why is it necessary for Odysseus to take some of his men by force away from the land of the Lotos-Eaters? The lotos fruit contains a magical drug that makes them want to stay and eat more.
How is Odysseus able to wound Polyphemos? He takes a sharpened log, lights it on fire and drives it into Polyphemos’ eye while he was sleeping.
Odysseus and his men come within sight of Ithaca. Why do they not land? The men think that the bag from Aeolus contains treasure and they think that Odysseus is keeping it fro himself. While Odysseus is sleeping, they open the bag. The winds escape and they are blown back to the Aeolan island.
Why must Odysseus visit the house of hades? He must talk with the blind prophet Teiresias, who will tell Odysseus all he needs to know about getting home.
What does Odysseus promise Elpenor? He promises to return to Circe’s island and bury his body.
How do Odysseus and his men avoid destruction by the Seirines? Odysseus orders his men to plug their ears with beeswax and has them lash him to the mast.
Telemakhos recieves an omen as he is about to depart. What is it, and what does it mean? An eagle holding a white goose in its talons flies right over the horses. Helen interprets the sign to mean that Odysseus will soon return to Ithaca and take revenge on the suitors.
Odysseus has a plan that he shares with Eumaios. What is it? Odysseus plans to go to his own house and ask for a job as a servant for the suitors.
What instructions does Odysseus give to Telemakhos? He tells him to go home and wait for his father’s arrival as a beggar. He warns Telemakhos not to interfere if the suitors are rude but to wait for the signal to hide all weapons except their own. He also reminds Telemakhos not to let anyone know that he (Odysseus) has returned.
What occurs between Odysseus and Iros? Why? They have a fist fight to decide which beggar may stay and which may leave.
What does Penelope do that makes Odysseus happy? She enriches the house by requesting expensive gifts from the suitors.
What contest does Penelope devise to test the suitors? She decides whoever can string the great bow of Odysseus and send an arrow through the iron of 12 axes shall be her husband.
How does Penelope test Odysseus? She tells the servants to bring out his bed and then waits for his reaction.
What does Athene do when the families of the dead suitors attack Odysseus? She makes both sides pledge peace.

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