Homer’s Odyssey – January 25 2013
- Epic is about Odysseus’ nostos
- Geras (glory), Sophos (sharp intellect), doloi (tricks)
- Hospitality theme
- Qualities that characterize the hero:
o Courage and adventure
o Devotion: expedition to Troy/duty
o Moral issues: right against wrong
- The Odyssey focuses on Odysseus’ nostos (“return home” or “homecoming”)
- I: Gods on Mt. Olympus urged by Athena, the goddess of war, allow Odysseus to
return home. O is in Calypso’s cave on Ogygia. Nymph wants him as her husband. C
means to hide, conceal. She offers O immortality.
- Telemachos seems to be in charge of Penelope, has the power over her and tells her
what to do. She seems surprised but does obey.
- II: The palace of Odysseus is crowded w suitors, because they want hand of his wife
Penelope. At and assembly, Zeus sends an omen of the suitors’ doom. Afterwards,
Telemachos sets sail for the mainland to seek news about his father.
- III: Telemachos consults King Nestor. He suggest him to speak to Menelaus.
- IV: King of Sparta Melelaus tells Telemachos that Odysseus is presently being held
against his will by the nymph Calypso. M offers assistance to T in his quest to find his
- V: Zeus sends Hermes to tell Calypso to free Odysseus. The raft on which he sets sail
is destroyed by his enemy, the god Poseidon. He is washed ashore days later, half-
- VI: Odysseus meets Princess Nausikaa of the Phaeacians. Odysseus follows her into
town to seek help from her father, King Alkinoos. Nausikaa’s dream-preparation for
marriage. - VII: The king Alkinoos invites Odysseus to the banquet which is in progress and
promises him safe passage home after he has been suitably entertained.
- VIII: An athletic competition is held in honour of Odysseus. Odysseus sobs hearing
tales of the Trojan War and is asked for his identity.
- IX: Odysseus narrates tales of encountering the Lotus Eaters and the Cyclops,
uncivilized one-eyed giants. One of them, Polyphemus imprisons O and his crew and
tries to eat them. O blinds him and angers his father Poseidon.
- O says that his name is Outis-Nobody
- X: Odysseus tells of a setback after opening the bag from Aeolus, god of the winds.
He and his crew encounter the Laestrygonians and Circe, the beautiful witch-
goddess transforms Odysseus’ men into swine. O resists Circe’s powers and
becomes her lover for a year. Circe tells Odysseus he must go to Hades, the land of
- XI: In Hades, Tiresias warns Odysseus about his journey home. Odysseus meets the
ghosts of many famous women and heroes including Achilles, best fighter of the
Greeks at Troy. The shade of O’s mo