The Odyssey of Homer By: Alex Banta 1 st Hour AP English
Original Epic poem consists of over twelve thousand lines of dactylic hexameter. Most likely written by the end of the 8 th century B.C.
Takes place directly after the events of the Iliad; with Odysseus beginning on his voyage back to Ithaca after the Agamemnon's victory at Troy.
The journey takes ten years, combined with the ten year long Trojan War, Odysseus has been absent for twenty years.
Actual story begins at Book 5 of the poem, as the opening books are considered flashbacks.
Suitors have overrun Odysseus' palace, in an attempt to court Queen Penelope who has yet remained faithful of her husband's return.
Odysseus' son, Prince Telemachus, wishes to be rid of the suitors but is not yet strong enough to commit to such an act. Leader of the suitors, Antinous, even plans on assassinating the Prince to gain the throne.
Unknown to all, Odysseus is alive and the prisoner of the sea nymph Calypso, who is madly in love with him.
The Gods greatly interfere with mortal affairs; Athena is sent to aid Telemachus and Zeus sends Hermes to free Odysseus.
Poseidon is angered at Odysseus as the hero blinded his son, a cyclops, and represents the biggest obstacle in a return to Ithaca, for the seas are not friendly.
Surviving the storms of Poseidon, Athena saves Odysseus and he arrives at the island Scheria, home of the Phaeacians. Already aware of his exploits at Troy, they offer to grant him safe passage in exchange for telling his adventures.
Goes on and on about the Lands of the Locus Eaters, the Sirens, journey to Hades, slaying the sea monster Scylla, fighting the Cyclops, and a love affair with a witch-goddess.
Suitors of Penelope
Arriving in Ithaca soon after, Athena disguises him as a beggar and he seeks out his old friend and servant for news of the land. When his son Telemachus arrives, they devise a plan to rid themselves of the suitors and regain control of Ithaca.
At the Palace, he is abused by the Suitors and only his personal nurse realizes his true identity but she promises to keep it secret from Penelope.
Queen Penelope holds an archery contest in which she will marry the man who can string Odysseus's bow and fire an arrow through a row of twelve axes.
Every suitor fails but Odysseus easily accomplishes the task. Then he kills every single suitor. Odysseus reveals himself to all and with a visit to his old father, he lives happily ever after with his wife Penelope from the peace brought by Zeus and Athena.
Themes and Traits
Physical perseverance in the face of extreme hardships and doubt. Odysseus never once gave up on his goal to reach his homeland.
Faith to the family. Both Telemachus and Penelope believed that Odysseus was still alive and not dead as widely believed. Telemachus also went to great lengths and risked death to try and save his father but gained maturity with the experience of the task which Athena guided him through.