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Odyssey NOTES

The Odyssey
Book 1
  • Homer asks Muse for help on epic poem of Odysseus
  • Mt. Olympus
  • Telemachus-son of Odysseus and Penelope
  • Penelope is surrounded by suitors in Ithaca
  • It has been 10 years since the war ended
Book 5
  • Last 7 years of the 10 year trip=Calypso
  • Calypso, a nymph, held Odysseus captive for 7 years
    • She fell in love with him
  • Zeus tells Hermes to help Odysseus leave
  • Hermes orders Calypso to let Odysseus go
  • Calypso believes he would want stay (her beauty)
  • Odysseus wants to be with family in Ithaca
  • They build a raft
Book 9
  • Athena puts Odysseus on island Phaeacia (King Alcinous and his daughter)
  • Start of his journey HOME (right after war)
    • 1st –Ismarus (land of Cicones)
      • Enemies of Odysseus
      • Started with 720 men/12 ships
      • Lost 72 men
    • 2nd place-Land of the Lotus Eaters (Malea)
      • Lost 6 because of the lotus plant
    • 3rd place- Cyclops
      • Polyphemus is son of Poseidon (Odysseus has now angered a god)
      • Polyphemus traps them in his cave/eats them (lost about 10 men)
      • Plan to leave—wine, stab him in the eye, “Nohbdy”, and tie themselves to the sheep’s bellies
Book 10
    • 4th place- Aeolus- king of wind and the name of the island – he gave them 2 winds
      • They were close to Ithaca, but the other winds blew them back to Aeolus
    • 5th place-Laestrygones-cannibals and boulders (lost a great number of men)
      • Down to only 45 men and 1 ship left
    • 6th place-Aeaea (where Circe the witch lives)
      • They are there for 1 year
      • The men split up: Odysseus and ½ the men and Eurylochus and ½ the men
      • Circe turns Eurylohcus’ ½ into PIGS
      • Hermes gives Odysseus magical MOLY so he can try to get Circe to turn them back.
        • She does, but puts them in a trance for a year
Book 11
  • Circe sent Odysseus to the Land of the Dead
  • 2 Sacrifices- a black lamb in the Land of the Dead and burnt flesh to the gods
  • Meets 3 Spirits or “Shades”
    • Elpenor- Odysseus promises him a proper burial
    • Odysseus’ mother- he didn’t know she died while he was gone (she died of a broken heart)
    • Tiresias –warns him of a struggle on his long journey home and to stay away from the cattle of Helios
Book 12
  • They return to Circe (Aeaea)-she warns them of the Sirens and Scylla and Charybdis
    • They should plug their ears as they pass the Sirens/tie Odysseus to the mast
    • Prepares them to face the sea monsters
      • She tells them to pray to the goddess “Blind Force” because she gave birth to Scylla/ they will only lose 6 if they row on
  • The Sirens are bird/women
    • Odysseus used Beeswax to close the men’s ears
  • Scylla-6 headed monster that ate 6 of the men
    • No man could look at Scylla with joy; no ship can pass her without grief or loss
  • Charybdis-is a whirlpool
  • Circe warns Odysseus about NOT eating Helios’ cattle
    • Odysseus’ men ate Helios’ cattle at Thrinacia
    • Zeus send the lightning bolt down which destroys Odysseus’ ship
    • Lone survivor is Odysseus- drifts to island Ogygia (home of Calypso)
  • This is the end of his story to King Alcinous
Part 2: The Homecoming
Book 21-The Test of the Bow
  • 2 suitors are rude and demanding- Antinous and Eurymachus
  • Penelope asks the beggar of news of her husband
    • The beggar says Odysseus is on his way home
    • Penelope has given up hope
  • She proposes an archery contest
    • Winner will marry her
    • Use Odysseus bow
      • Bend it and string it
      • Shoot an arrow through 12 axe-helve sockets
    • SHE IS STRONG—she got the bow out of the case and carried the bow
      • She still loves Odysseus-she sat and cried with the bow
  • The contest
    • Most suitors could not string it
    • Antinous and Eurymachus wait to be last
  • Odysseus goes and gets help from Eumaeus and Philoetius
    • Only 2 to long for Odysseus’ return
    • Those 4 to fight the suitors
    • Odysseus showed the 2 an old scar from a boar tusk, so they would know it was him
  • Odysseus tells them of the plan
    • Eumaeus to bring Odysseus his bow
    • They should tell the women to lock themselves in their rooms
    • Philoetius should lock the outer gate
  • Odysseus asks the suitors if he can try the bow
    • They refuse; worried the old man might show them up
    • Penelope urges the suitors to let him try
    • Telemachus asks Penelope to leave for this to be settled
    • Servants lock the door
    • Telemachus orders the bow be given to Odysseus
  • “But the man skilled in all ways of contending”= Odysseus
    • Odysseus strings it effortlessly
    • Odysseus shot through the axe-helves not grazing one
  • Ends with the image of a father and son standing side by side ready to fight 100 suitors