Greek Roman Humanities: Odyssey

Greek Roman Humanities: Odyssey

Book I

  1. The first section of the poem does two things. First, it “invokes the Muse.” This means that Homer calls upon the Muse, the goddess who inspires creativity, to help inspire him in telling his tale. Second, it tells what the story is about. In your own words, summarize what this story is about based on what Homer tells you in this paragraph. Respond in three or more sentences here, and be sure your summary refers to at least three main ideas with regards to what the poem is about.                                                                                                                (6 pts.)

The daughter of Zeus is asked to narrate the story of Muse to the persona. Muse is said to have entered the city where he learned the people’s traditions, beliefs, and practices. He planned on how to leave the city together with his friends. However, the friends died for disobeying the gods of the sun.

  1. In the fourth paragraph, Zeus addresses the topic of free will versus fate, and which of them plays the stronger role in the lives of humans. Summarize Zeus’ view on this matter, and utilize a direct quote from this paragraph to illustrate. (Be sure to follow the rules for incorporating quotes into your writing that are found in the last bullet above.) Your response should contain three or more sentences. (6 pts.)

Zeus narrates people, through their foolishness cause hardships to their lives and fate. Fate is referred to as a force, principle or divine which predetermines events. Aegisthus kills Agamemnon and takes his wife. Hermes is sent to talk to Aegisthus. The murderer has to face the consequences for what he did. Zeus concludes by quoting that people blame the gods, but through their ignorance, stupidity and free will, they bring themselves challenges not caused by fate.

  1. To illustrate his point about whether it is free will or fate that plays a stronger role in the lives of humans, Zeus brings up the story of Aegisthus. Summarize in your own words (not a quote) what happened to Aegisthus, and why. Respond in three or more sentences                                                     (6 pts.)

Aegisthus, free willingly kills Agamemnon and takes his wife. He clearly knows that his acts are in contrary the gods. He took the woman to his home and waited for his ruin. Hermes is sent to have to explain the consequences to the murderer. Later on, Orestes avenges for Agamemnon and Aegisthus is killed too. He caused his death by disobeying the gods of the land. Aegisthus acts cost him dearly.

  1. Does Telemachus agree with Zeus’ view regarding humans’ responsibility for their own troubles? Quote directly from a passage in the book that indicates his position on this. (Search around line 470.) Remember to introduce the quote by providing the context, and interpret the quote in your own words. Also, be sure to have a parenthetical note listing the line numbers your quote comes from. (4 pts.)

Telemachus takes over leadership after Odysseus leaves. He disagrees with Zeus’ views that people should work hard and do things that please the gods. In fabulous times, going contrary to the gods would result in enormous consequences to the wrong-doers. According to Zeus, the singer had to be punished for his songs. However, Telemachus does not accept that. He goes ahead to say “There’s nothing wrong with this man’s singing of the evil fate of the Danaans.”  Telemachus is the leader and gives rules and is the one in charge of the servants.


Book II (2)

  1. Notice that in the first line, Dawn is referred to as “rose-fingered.” This is an epithet—an adjective or adjective phrase that describes the person or thing it is attached to. Note two other uses of epithets in Book 2. Put the line numbers for where you found them in parentheses.                                         (2 pts.)

Book III (3)

  1. Describe the hospitality that Telemachus is treated to in Nestor’s palace. (Your response should contain multiple parts, so be sure to read closely and include as much information as possible.)                                                             (5 pts.)

Book IV (4)    

  1. Describe the relationship between Menelaus and Helen, based on their appearance in this book. Does there seem to be any animosity between them (considering Helen had run off with another man!)? What does each character say or do that makes you feel this way?  In your opinion, how should Menelaus be treating her, and why?                                                             (6 pts.)

Book VI (6)

  1. In this book, there is an “epic simile” (a long comparison between something and something else). What is the epic simile that is used for Odysseus while he watches Nausicaa? How many lines of the poem does this comparison consist of? (Count them.)                                                                                                     (3 pts.)

Book VII (7)

  1. After King Alcinous hears Odysseus’ story of how his daughter, Nausicaa, found him, what two things does Alcinous offer to Odysseus if he agrees to stay? (4 pts.)

Book IX (9)

  1. In this book, you will read the famous story of how Odysseus and his men escaped from the Cyclops. Describe the trick that Odysseus devised. Respond in three or more sentences                                                                                     (6 pts.)


  1. Odysseus has also been described as egotistical. Give an example from Book 9 that supports this position. Use a direct quote from the book to illustrate. (4 pts.)


  1. What plea does the Cyclops make to his father, Poseidon, regarding Odysseus’ return home?                                                                                                             (2 pts.)

Book XI (11)

  1. Who is the first ghost that Odysseus meets in the underworld? How did he die? What does this ghost request of him? (4 pts.)
  2. In four (4) or more sentences, sum up what Teiresias tells Odysseus regarding his journey home, what not to do on the island of Thrinacie, and how to deal with the suitors when he returns home, and his death.                                                 (8 pts.)
  3. What, according to Odysseus’ mother Anticlea, caused her death? (2 pts.)
  4. Odysseus also sees the ghost of Agamemnon in the underworld. Summarize in your own words the warning he gives to Odysseus. Be sure to refer to all the things he warns Odysseus of.                                                                                    (4 pts.)

Book XII (12)

  1. After his visit to the underworld, Odysseus again visits Circe. She tells him more about the dangers he will encounter on his journey home, including the two monsters known as the “Scylla and Charybdis.” Describe each of these two monsters in detail.  (4 pts.)

Book XIX (19)

  1. How does the old servant woman Euryclea recognize that the old beggar is actually Odysseus in disguise?                         (2 pts.)

Book XXII (22) 

  1. Discuss the way Odysseus deals with the suitors in this book. Do you feel that he was justified in his severe treatment of them? Why or why not? Answer in four or more sentences here, and be sure you explain why you feel the way you do. (8 pts.)

Book XXIII (23)

  1. How does Odysseus finally prove to Penelope that he is her husband? (What does he say or do that convinces Penelope?) Quote directly from the poem in your response.                                                                                                                         (4 pts.)
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