The Odyssey Discussion Questions BK. 1 1. What does the invocation say the poem as a whole will emphasize? * It emphasized about a man that suffers through years of voyages before he returns home to his family. 2. What first impression does thus book give us of the gods? How much of a role do they play in human affairs? What seems to motivate their actions? * The gods were all evil and angry that Odysseus was not at the council meeting 3. What is our first introduction to various characters? The suitors? Telemachus?
What qualities does Telemachus possess at the outset? * The suitors all courted Penelope while Odysseus was gone and turned their home into total chaos. Telemachus tried to help his mother by gaining control over the suitors but failed. BK. 5 4. What sort of character is Calypso? How long does Odysseus stay on her island? What is the source of Calypso’s power of Odysseus? To what extent does she help Odysseus or hinder him once the decision to let him go is forced upon her by Hermes? * Calypso was a beautiful goddess-nymph.
She was a dominating goddess that dreamed of marrying Odysseus. Odysseus stayed on her island for 7 years. Calypso offered him immortality but Odysseus refused. Calypso helped Odysseus because once he regained his old power she also gave him the power of timelessness, nature and death. BK. 9&10 5. What do the individual stories Odysseus recounts tell us about him and his men? For example, what makes Odysseus a worthy leader? Does he make mistakes while leading his men? Are there dangers in his strengths? Odysseus and his men were very strong to be able to deal with the encounters that they had to endure. Odysseus was a very worthy leader. 6. What sort of character is Circe? What makes Odysseus succumb for a time to Circe’s enticement? What is his mistake here? * Circe was sorceress and was also very conniving. If Odysseus didn’t cooperate with her she would turn his men into pigs and use them for her very own petting zoo. BK. 12&13 7. Odysseus returns to Circe’s island after his visit to Hades. What adventures still await him?
Discuss one or more of these adventures and determine what they tell us about Odysseus as a hero? * Once he returned to Circe’s island she told him the adventures that await him. She told him first he will pass the Island of Sirens, they passed Scylla the six headed man eating monster, and then the Isle of Thrinacia where Hyperion the sun god kept his cattle and Odysseus’s men sacrificed the cattle while he was asleep after they ate for six days they left. Hyperion was furious and asks Zeus to punish Odysseus’s men. . How does Odysseus handle his return to Ithaca and what necessary qualities does he show in his first steps toward returning to power? How much help does Athena give him? Overall, how is Book 13 pivotal regarding the action of the Odyssey as a whole? * Odysseus was happy to reach Ithaca with all of his gifts. He made up a story about himself to tell Athena who had disguised herself as a young man. She disguised him as a beggar told him to seek Eumaeus, a swineherd, so he can learn more about what was going on.
BK. 23 9. Why does the text refrain from making Penelope recognize Odysseus outright? Why does Penelope insist on testing Odysseus? * Penelope refused to believe Odysseus was home instead she believes there was an old beggar. She tested him because she didn’t believe it was her husband. 10. Why is it appropriate that the couple’s bed should involve in the main test of Odysseus’ identity? * No one else knew what the bed was made of but Odysseus and Penelope.