The OdysseyThe OdysseyAn Introduction (of EpicAn Introduction (of EpicProportions)Proportions)
BeforeBefore The OdysseyThe Odyssey• Laertes, King of IthacaLaertes, King of Ithacaand a great fighter in hisand a great fighter in hisyouth, marries Anticlea.youth, marries Anticlea.• They purchase a slaveThey purchase a slavewoman, Eurycleiawoman, Eurycleia• Laertes and AnticleaLaertes and Anticleahave a son.have a son.• He is named OdysseusHe is named Odysseusby his grandfatherby his grandfatherAutoclycis, and lookedAutoclycis, and lookedafter by Eurycleiaafter by Eurycleia
BeforeBefore The OdysseyThe Odyssey• Odysseus is raised with his younger sisterOdysseus is raised with his younger sisterCtimene and another family slave Eumaeus.Ctimene and another family slave Eumaeus.• On a boar-hunt with Autoclycus’ sons, he isOn a boar-hunt with Autoclycus’ sons, he isbadly wounded in the thighbadly wounded in the thigh• Odysseus loves hunting, especially with his dogOdysseus loves hunting, especially with his dogArgus.Argus.• When he is sent of a mission to Messene, heWhen he is sent of a mission to Messene, hemeets Iphitus, son of Eurytus, who gives him ameets Iphitus, son of Eurytus, who gives him aspecial bow as a gift. Odysseus uses this inspecial bow as a gift. Odysseus uses this inIthaca but takes it nowhere else.Ithaca but takes it nowhere else.
BeforeBefore The OdysseyThe Odyssey• Odysseus becomes the wise and gentleOdysseus becomes the wise and gentleking of Ithaca and marries Penelope,king of Ithaca and marries Penelope,daughter of Spartan King Icarius.daughter of Spartan King Icarius.• He builds their bedroom and constructs aHe builds their bedroom and constructs abed around the base of an olive-tree.bed around the base of an olive-tree.• Odysseus does not want to join the TrojanOdysseus does not want to join the TrojanWar, but he does so just after his sonWar, but he does so just after his sonTelemachus is born.Telemachus is born.
BeforeBefore The OdysseyThe Odyssey• Odysseus and his wife Penelope had oneOdysseus and his wife Penelope had oneson, Telemachus, who was a toddler whenson, Telemachus, who was a toddler whenOdysseus was summoned to join theOdysseus was summoned to join thekingskings• Odysseus really didn’t want to go to warOdysseus really didn’t want to go to warso when the other kings came for him, heso when the other kings came for him, hepretended to be insane and not recognizepretended to be insane and not recognizehis visitors. He continued to plow hishis visitors. He continued to plow hisfields.fields.
BeforeBefore The OdysseyThe Odyssey• Because OdysseusBecause Odysseusignored the other kings,ignored the other kings,King Menelaus andKing Menelaus andAgamenon threwAgamenon threwTelemachus in front ofTelemachus in front ofthe plow.the plow.• Odysseus revealed hisOdysseus revealed hissanity when he turned thesanity when he turned theplow to avoid runningplow to avoid runningover his son.over his son.
BeforeBefore The OdysseyThe Odyssey• As he leaves,As he leaves,Odysseus tellsOdysseus tellsPenelope that if hePenelope that if hedoes not return, shedoes not return, sheis to remarry whenis to remarry whenTelemachus comes ofTelemachus comes ofage.age.• He leaves Laertes inHe leaves Laertes incharge of the palacecharge of the palacein Ithaca.in Ithaca.
The OdysseyThe Odyssey BackgroundBackground• Because Odysseus is gone, his home is over-Because Odysseus is gone, his home is over-run with over 100 suitors (men who want torun with over 100 suitors (men who want tomarry his wife).marry his wife).• Penelope, his wife, and Telemachus, his 21-Penelope, his wife, and Telemachus, his 21-year-old son, do not have the power to eject theyear-old son, do not have the power to eject thesuitors from their homesuitors from their home• Telemachus, the heir to Odysseus, is constantlyTelemachus, the heir to Odysseus, is constantlyin danger.in danger.• Due to his young age and lack of power, heDue to his young age and lack of power, hecannot seek help from other Greeks; he cannotcannot seek help from other Greeks; he cannoteject the suitors from his homeeject the suitors from his home
The Setting of IthacaThe Setting of Ithaca• Odysseus, the king of the island IthacaOdysseus, the king of the island Ithacamaintains control over Ithaca—even though hemaintains control over Ithaca—even though heis away for 20 years (10 years at war, 10 yearsis away for 20 years (10 years at war, 10 yearswandering)—because of his skills which lead towandering)—because of his skills which lead tohis control.his control.• The city of Ithaca was based on powerThe city of Ithaca was based on power• Odysseus is a great warrior, an excellent sailor,Odysseus is a great warrior, an excellent sailor,the best carpenter, the best hunter, the finestthe best carpenter, the best hunter, the finestmarksman, and the leading expert on caring formarksman, and the leading expert on caring forfarm animals. He is also extremely intelligent.farm animals. He is also extremely intelligent.
The Setting of IthacaThe Setting of Ithaca• Ithaca has no coined money; wealth isIthaca has no coined money; wealth ismeasured by livestock, household furnishings,measured by livestock, household furnishings,servants, slaves, and treasure.servants, slaves, and treasure.• Slavery is encouraged in Ithaca; having slaves isSlavery is encouraged in Ithaca; having slaves isa symbol of power and wealtha symbol of power and wealth• Piracy, war, raids on foreign cities, and thePiracy, war, raids on foreign cities, and thecapture of women are all accepted means ofcapture of women are all accepted means ofincreasing wealthincreasing wealth
The OdysseyThe Odyssey BackgroundBackground• In Ithaca, ifIn Ithaca, ifTelemachus tried toTelemachus tried toassume his father’sassume his father’sthrone, he wouldthrone, he wouldlikely be overthrownlikely be overthrownand killedand killed• If Penelope does notIf Penelope does notsoon choose a suitor,soon choose a suitor,a civil war may begina civil war may beginon Ithaca.on Ithaca.
The OdysseyThe Odyssey BackgroundBackground• If Penelope doesIf Penelope doeschoose a suitor,choose a suitor,Telemachus’s life is inTelemachus’s life is indanger unless he isdanger unless he iswilling to give up hiswilling to give up hisclaim to the throneclaim to the throne• Penelope may havePenelope may haveto choose a suitor toto choose a suitor tosave her family’s lifesave her family’s lifeand Ithacaand Ithaca
Odysseus’s Journey HomeOdysseus’s Journey Home• (will be reveled in detail in(will be reveled in detail in TheThe Odyssey in flash-Odyssey in flash-back)back)• ForFor 3 years3 years Odysseus is blown around theOdysseus is blown around theMediterranean, experiencing adventures with theMediterranean, experiencing adventures with theCicones, the Lotus Eaters, the CylopsCicones, the Lotus Eaters, the CylopsPolyphemus; Aeolus, the wind-god, giantPolyphemus; Aeolus, the wind-god, giantcannibals; the witch Circe; the underworld; thecannibals; the witch Circe; the underworld; theSirens; more monsters;Sirens; more monsters;• Eventually he is swept ashore to the island ofEventually he is swept ashore to the island ofCalypso where he spendsCalypso where he spends 7 years7 years. (It is at this. (It is at thispoint where we first meet Odysseus.)point where we first meet Odysseus.)
Themes inThemes in The OdysseyThe Odyssey• The danger of hubrisThe danger of hubris : hubris is excessive: hubris is excessivepride that leads to destruction. Odysseus ispride that leads to destruction. Odysseus isoften guilty of hubris and Athena must rescueoften guilty of hubris and Athena must rescuehimhim• The importance of moderationThe importance of moderation : Giving in to: Giving in toexcess or temptation, whether food, drink, orexcess or temptation, whether food, drink, orother pleasures, will cause a person harm. Theother pleasures, will cause a person harm. TheSirens’ song leads to destruction and the suitors’Sirens’ song leads to destruction and the suitors’desires lead to their destruction.desires lead to their destruction.
Themes inThemes in The OdysseyThe Odyssey• The expected rolesThe expected rolesfor women and menfor women and menin Greek societyin Greek society : Men: Menare almost alwaysare almost alwayssuperior to women,superior to women,except in Sparta whereexcept in Sparta wherewomen have more rights.women have more rights.• The role of fateThe role of fate::Characters receive hintsCharacters receive hintsas to their fate; however,as to their fate; however,some choose to ignoresome choose to ignorethe foreshadowingthe foreshadowing
Themes inThemes in The OdysseyThe Odyssey• The similarities between Greek gods andThe similarities between Greek gods andmortalsmortals: The gods have many of the same: The gods have many of the samenegative traits as humans and often causenegative traits as humans and often causedestruction.destruction.• Gods may choose to save one person and manyGods may choose to save one person and manyothers will die as a result.others will die as a result.• The gods are given credit for all that is good,The gods are given credit for all that is good,they are sometimes blamed for bringingthey are sometimes blamed for bringingdestruction to mortals.destruction to mortals.• Why do you think their gods are so similar toWhy do you think their gods are so similar tohumans?humans?
Themes inThemes in The OdysseyThe Odyssey• LoyaltyLoyalty: Penelope is: Penelope isexpected to wait forexpected to wait forOdysseus, gone for moreOdysseus, gone for morethan 20 years.than 20 years.• Telemachus must standTelemachus must standfor his father, who hefor his father, who hedoes not even remember,does not even remember,against the suitors.against the suitors.• However, there areHowever, there arecharacters who do notcharacters who do notremain loyal to Odysseusremain loyal to Odysseusand their fate is not good.and their fate is not good.
Themes inThemes in The OdysseyThe Odyssey• PerseverancePerseverance: work: workto survive in anyto survive in anysituationsituation• VengeanceVengeance: It is: It isacceptable to hurt oracceptable to hurt orkill those who arekill those who aredisloyal. The end ofdisloyal. The end ofthe epic shows whatthe epic shows whathappens to those whohappens to those whodefy Odysseusdefy Odysseus
Themes inThemes in The OdysseyThe Odyssey• Appearance vs.Appearance vs.RealityReality: Athena takes on: Athena takes onmany different characters’many different characters’identities and evenidentities and evenanimals’ when helpinganimals’ when helpingTelemachus orTelemachus orOdysseus.Odysseus.• Athena can even changeAthena can even changeothers’ appearances forothers’ appearances forreasons such as checkingreasons such as checkingon someone’s loyalty oron someone’s loyalty ormaking a goodmaking a goodimpression on a king.impression on a king.
Themes inThemes in The OdysseyThe Odyssey• Spiritual GrowthSpiritual Growth ::Telemachus andTelemachus andOdysseus bothOdysseus bothexperience strugglesexperience struggleswhich cause them towhich cause them tomature spiritually bymature spiritually bythe end of the epic.the end of the epic.