ENG 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Odysseus, Iliad

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6 Feb 2017
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The Odyssey Books 4-6
1. Why is Homer introducing Odysseus by showing him sulking and crying that he wants to
go home?
a. Nostos
i. The desire for homecoming
ii. Origin of words like nostalgia
b. We will see a dichotomy between kleos and nostos in the Odyssey
c. He has to be brought down before he can be made to be a great hero again
i. He needs to undergo a transformation
d. Odysseus has been stuck on an island for seven years, being held captive by an
immortal woman
2. Calypso’s speech about double standard among the gods
a. Gods can sleep around but goddesses are not supposed to intermingle with mortal
men
b. Calpyso is upset she has the power to keep a man captive, but she has to obey
Zeus when he sends down an order
3. In Book 6, Homer shows us women with some level of authority. Nausicaa commands
her maids to help Odysseus and she says it is up to her mother, the queen, whether they
might help Odysseus or not. What does this say about gender roles?
a. There seems to be more gender equality
b. This is in the middle of nowhere
4. Why is Telemachus so gracious to Menelaus?
a. Perhaps because he is a man
b. Perhaps because he is Odysseus’s friend
i. Menelaus misses Odysseus more than any other man
c. At home, he is in charge while with Menelaus, he is somebody else’s jurisdiction
5. Does the God’s influence affect Odysseus’s fate?
a. Yes it certainly does
b. Odysseus fears Ino is interfering with his fate when she gives him the armor
c. The God’s intervention helps to bring about fate, whether the Gods think it will or
not
d. In Book one, lines 37, Zeus complains that mortals deviate from their fate too
much and blame the Gods for it
6. Why does Athena not tell Penelope about Odysseus? Can too much knowledge alter fate?
a. It may be detrimental to Odysseus’s return. Nobody in that household seems to be
able to keep a secret.
b. Telemachus is allowed to find this information out but he has to go out and search
for it.
c. With men, she appears face to face while for women, Athena appears in dreams
7. Why are so there many instances of mortals being cunning? Does this level the playing
field between mortals and the Gods?
a. Menelaus is able to subdue Proteus
b. For mortal characters, the ability to be cunning or not is important for many of
them
c. The gods are cunning as it is: Athena and her disguises
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