"By its evocation of a real or imaged heroic age, its
contrasts of character and its variety of adventure,
above all by its sheer narrative power, the Odyssey
has won and preserved its place among the greatest
tales in the world. It tells of Odysseus' adventurous
wanderings as he returns from the long war at Troy
to his home in the Greek island of Ithaca, where his
wife Penelope and his son Telemachus have been
waiting for him for twenty years. He meets a one-
eyed giant, Polyphemus the Cyclops; he visits the
underworld; he faces the terrible monsters Scylla
and Charybdis; he extricates himself from the
charms of Circe and Calypso. After these and
numerous other legendary encounters he finally
reaches home, where, disguised as a beggar, he
begins to plan revenge on the suitors who have for
years been besieging Penelope and feasting on his
own meat and wine with insolent impunity."
-The Reader’s Guide
English 9 - Mr. Cress
•Legendary ancient Greek epic poet
•Wrote the Illiad and the Odyssey
•Was a blind court singer/storyteller
•The Illiad tells the story of Achilles and
takes place during the Trojan War
•The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus and
his journey home after the war has ended.
The Characteristics of an epic…
•A long, narrative poem on a serious subject.
•Told in formal, elevated style.
•Centers on a heroic figure.
•The hero’s actions determine the fate of his
nation, people, and/or humanity as a whole.
•These actions take place in battles and
wars, long journeys and quests, and other
•Gods and other supernatural beings/forces
take an interest and an active involvement in
•A myth is a traditional story, which may describe the origins of the world
and/or of a people…
•A myth is an attempt to explain mysteries, supernatural events, and
•Sometimes, a myth can involve gods or other creatures.
•A myth represents reality in dramatic ways.
•Most lived high atop Mt. Olympus,
ruled by Zeus, their king.
•They looked and acted much like
humans, but they were more powerful,
more beautiful, and far more gifted.
•They had human feelings and
emotions, like love, anger, and
•They were married, had children,
fought with each other, and generally
acted like the Greek people they ruled
•Each had a special area of influence
and many had temples dedicated to
Athena, for example, was the goddess of
wisdom, as well as war and peace.
•Blame it on Helen, “The Face that launched a
•She was married to Menelaus, King of Sparta.
•Paris, Prince of Troy, chose Aphrodite over
Hera and Athena and gave her a golden apple
inscribed “to the fairest.”
•To thank him, Aphrodite allowed Paris to pick
the most beautiful woman in the world to be by
his side. Unfortunately, it was Helen, who was
•Aphrodite helped Paris kidnap Helen and take
her back to Troy with him.
•MENELAUS=NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS.
How it began…
•Outraged, Menelaus rallies his people and all the
Greek kings to swarm Troy and return his wife,
Helen, to Sparta.
•The war lasts for nearly ten years.
•It ends with the Trojan Horse, the idea of a
•The Greeks give the wooden horse as a gift to the
Trojans as a trophy.
•They hid a select group of 30 soldiers inside the
horse, while the rest of the army pretended to sail
•The Trojans took the horse into their city and
locked the gates, but that night, the men busted
out of the horse, crept to the city gates, and
unlocked them, allowing the Greek army to sack
Troy and recover Helen.
This was such a smart
strategy, but who could have
thought of something like
•Leader in the Greek army
•Known for his cunning intelligence
•While the other men have returned home,
Odysseus endures a voyage filled with
monsters, meddling gods, and other
obstacles that lengthen his journey home
to ten years.
•His wife, Penelope, faithfully awaits him
at home in Ithaca, along with his son,
•Suitors pressure her to re-marry and abuse
ransack her home; when will Odysseus