16a. THE ODYSSEY READING
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- trace Odysseus' relationships with female characters
through the poem (see Odyssey handout)
- compare Odysseus to other epic heroes (Trojan, Gilgamesh)
- read the several passages about Agamemnon's return
home (Lombardo p. 242, 267 , 343-45,
- how does that story enhance the story of Odysseus' homecoming?
- as in the Iliad, look at the similes carefully
Assignment for Fri. 19 Oct.
Lombardo 241-69 [from Books 1, 4]
- The first four books deal with Telemachos, Odysseus' son.
- Book 1 is set in on Olympus and on Ithaca at Odysseus' home
- why is our introduction to Odysseus postponed?
- how do the gods get involved?
- what is the problem with the suitors?
- what is Telemachus like at first?
- how is Telemachus different after his encounter with Athena?
- Book 4 is set at Menelaus' palace
- what are Menelaus and Helen like? what is their relationship like?
- Menelaus and Helen each tell a story about Odysseus
- what do we learn about Odysseus from each story?
- what do we learn about Menelaus and Helen from each story?
- Menelaus gives further information about his own return, and Agamemnon's,
and about Odysseus
Assignment for Mon. 22 Oct.
Lombardo 284-98 [from Books 6, 8]
- Odysseus in Phaeacia
- parallels a folktale: stranger does quest, marries
- look at all the marriage talk around Nausicaa
- how is Odysseus' approach to Nausicaa diplomatic
- why does Homer have Odysseus ask the bard to sing about the Trojan Horse?
- after this tale, Odysseus reveals who he is, and from Books 9-12 narrates
his adventures trying to get home from Troy, up to his arrival at Calypso's
Lombardo 332-38, 342-65 [from Books
- Odysseus in the underworld
- we looked before at Homer's version of the underworld--now read it
- what useful information does Odysseus get from Tiresias? from his own
- why does Homer include encounters with Agamemnon, Achilles
- Odysseus with Circe and wandering
- Circe instructs him what to expect next
- why is the Sirens' song particularly tempting for Odysseus?
- the Cattle of the Sun episode: like Polyphemus episode, an example of
men bringing trouble on themselves (see what the gods say about that on
Assignment for Wed. 24 Oct.
Lombardo 298-314 [Book 9]
- Odysseus' men have adventures with the Cicones and the
- They arrive at the land of the Cyclopes
- how does Odysseus describe the Cyclopes? their off-shore island?
- what sort of life does Polyphemus lead?
- In Polyphemus' cave
- how is Odysseus a bad guest? how is Polyphemus a bad host?
- we will compare this story to a folktale (see Odyssey handout)
- why does Odysseus say his name is "Noman"? How is the lie effective?
- how does he get himself and his men out of the cave?
- After escaping the cave
- how does Odysseus' taunting Polyphemus make things worse for his crew?
- what is the curse Polyphemus lays on Odysseus?
Assignment for Wed. 24 Oct.
Lombardo 366-88 [from Books 13, 16]
454-65 [Book 23]
- Odysseus returns to Ithaca
- his encounter with Athena shows what he is like, and what they think
of each other
- what is Odysseus concerned about?
- Odysseus and Telemachus meet at the hut of Eumaeus the
- are Odysseus and Telemachus alike? what do they think of each other?
- Odysseus tells a series of lies while he is in Ithaca: why? what kind
- what's the plan for dealing with the suitors?
[from Books 19, 21-22]
- Odysseus meets Penelope again at last
- why does he lie to her?
- how are they alike?
- what does Homer gain by including the foot-washing
- the old nurse Eurycleia is the only one who could
recognize Odysseus; why does he specifically ask for an old serving woman?
(see how Eurycleia adds to the beginning of Book 23)
- Odysseus and the suitors
- how are the suitors bad guests?
- the trick with the bow: it works because this is
a composite bow, not a single-piece one. If you know how to string it,
it's not difficult; if you don't, it's impossible.
- Odysseus, as usual, wins through cleverness and
knowledge, not brute strength
- notice that Telemachus comes very close to stringing
Lombardo 454-65 [Book 23]
- Odysseus and Penelope
- it is Penelope's turn to trick Odysseus! she makes
a good wife for him
- Homer chooses to add Odysseus' statement that he
will need to wander again (p. 462)
- what parts of Odysseus' journey does Homer choose
to include in Odysseus' report to his wife of his wanderings (p. 463-64)
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