Reading Guide – The Odyssey
Passage 1 (p. 158159 lines 223251): Ally
How does Odysseus show appetite vs. mind shown when Odysseus declines Calypso’s offer to stay?
How does symmetry vs. Balance of Contradictions show in Odysseus’ actions of turning down Calypso’s offer of immortality and her beauty?
Do you think Odysseus is acting with hubris because he is trying to go against his fate to not return home? And what tone do you think is present during this time?
What does Calypso and Odysseus’ discussion show about the differences between gods and humans? Why does Odysseus leave despite Calypso telling him that pain awaits him and when he knows the gods will try and stop him?
How is this related to when Gilgamesh went onto the Road of the Sun?
Passage 2 () Tom What does Poseidon’s rage show about the gods?
Is Odysseus showing hubris to think he can cross the sea on a tiny raft? Why or why not?
Why do you think Poseidon would go against the others gods decision to let Odysseus go and wreck his raft?
What does Poseidon mean when he said the gods have changed their mind about Odysseus?
What other gods were against him? Why?
What tone is being used when Poseidon says “Outrageous! Look how the gods have changed their minds/ about Odysseus while I was off with my Ethiopians?”
What does Odysseus and Poseidon show about mortal’s relationship with the god?
Passage 3 p. 162163 (lines 366383, 421428) Melissa
How does this show fate/freedom and connect to Gilgamesh’s bull of heaven when Poseidon wreaks Odysseus’ raft?
How does Odysseus show a Nostalgia tone when Odysseus turns down Calypso’s offer of immortality? How does Athena show symmetry/balance of contradictions when she helps Odysseus?
How does Athena go against on the sea/on the land when she goes against Poseidon by helping Odysseus?
Why do the gods care so much about what happens to Odysseus?
How does Odysseus show irony when he accepts Ino’s scarf of immortality but not Calypso’s offer of immortality?
How is figurative language shown when Athena stops the wind “right in their tracks, commanding them all to hush now, go to sleep?”
Pine (p. 159 l. 232)
Worldly (p. 159 l. 238)
Quaked (p. 161 l. 327)
Roiled (p. 161 l. 326)
Billow (p. 163 l. 390)
Thrashed (p. 163 l. 402)
Passage 1 TQ:
To what extent Athena disguise herself for the same reasons she did Telemachus back in book one?
Is Athena afraid of revealing herself?
What makes Nausicaa a admirable character?
How did Odysseus treat Nausicaa after she agreed to help him?
What do the actions of Nausicaa show societies and strangers in ancient Greece?
Would Odysseus do the same Nausicaa’s aiding a stranger?
To what extent is this book trying to make a statement about women? Since Athena, a goddess, is necessary for Odysseus to get home, the book seems to be contrasting with the earlier treatment Telemachus showed his mother...given this contrast, what does The Odyssey seem to be saying about the power of women in society?
How does this relate to Sita and the golden deer? Athena had a plan just like Ravana and needed a disguise to set it into motion.
Passage 2 TQ:
If the Gods could see the long term effects of their curse on Odysseus (scared of every place he goes), would they regret their punishments? Would they finally see how much humans suffer and almost feel what it’s like to be a human at sea, away from civilization while all these horrible things happen? (Don’t really know how to word this question either)
What would Odysseus have done if the people he encountered were in fact violent and savage?
How can you relate Athena’s persuasion to Odysseus?
If you were Nausica, how would you react to Odysseus when he wakes up?
Was Odysseus resourceful or at a loss?
What is the significance of people disguising themselves in this chapter?
Passage 3 TQ:
Would you help Odysseus?
Why does Odysseus compare Nausica to Artemis the goddess of the hunt instead of perhaps Aphrodite the goddess of love and beauty?
To what extent is the art of persuasion used?
Does Odysseus really mean anything he says to Nausicaa or was it all just an act in order to get her to help him?
Why does Odysseus just assume that Nausicaa is married?
Line 17 to 45: zeal ,languish, thwarts
Line 183 to 205: roving, scudding
Line 216 to 242: whirred
❏ If Alcinous said he didn’t want anybody to be homesick on his island, then why didn’t he tell Odysseus to leave and go home?
❏ Why does Athena care so much about what the Phaeacians think of Odysseus?
❏ What do the Phaeacians think of Odysseus and do they all want to help him?
❏ Why is Alcinous being so generous to Odysseus when he gets his 50 best sailors to bring Odysseus home?
❏ Why would making Odysseus taller make the Phaeacians think of him as kind?
❏ Why does Alcinous care about what Odysseus thinks about his island and his people
❏ Why is Broadsea so easily convinced that Odysseus is not a real man and has no skill?
❏ What is Broadsea’s tone when he is mocking Odysseus for not being a real man?
❏ How does Odysseus feel after Broadsea is mocks him?
❏ Why does it take Odysseus so many words to tell Broadsea that he is worthless?
❏ How does Laodamas feel about Broadsea insulting his guest?
❏ Why was Odysseus not questioned immediately after throwing the heavier disc?
❏ How did the humiliation of Broadsea and the other competitors affect how the Phaeacians felt about Odysseus?
❏ How did this win help Odysseus’s hopes of getting home and how he felt in the moment?
❏ What gave Odysseus such confidence in the other events?
❏ What is Odysseus’s tone when challenging all men of the island except for Laodamas
❏ Why did nobody question Athena’s intrigue with Odysseus?
❏ How does Odysseus’ physical challenge compare to Rama’s with Janaka’s bow.
Q1:Why doesn’t Odysseus apologize to the gods for the laws he broke instead of running away?
Q2: Why doesn't Odysseus try to reason and bargain with the people of Cicones for the resources they needed. How do the actions he takes reflect his character after the war?
Q3: To what extent is negative role modelling as a purpose of myth evident in the greed of Odysseus’ men’s interactions with The Cicones?
Q4: What does Odysseus dividing the spoils equally and making the crew salute each fallen crewmember show about his leadership skills? How? Do you believe he was a skilled leader?
Q5: Why do you think the author portrays it as ok that Odysseus plundered the innocent Cicones’, but when anyone other than Odysseus does anything of a similar nature, especially if it is done to Odysseus or his crew or family, it is portrayed as evil?
Q6: How does Zeus compare to Vishnu as a powerful God?
Q7: What is the tone of lines 71-75? Thought
Lotus Eaters Passage Lines: 92-117 Q1: What is the passage teaching is correct for a person to do when a friend has been guided astray? How?
Q2: What does this passage show about the author’s view of human nature?
Q3: Why does Odysseus not join his fellow soldiers and enjoy lotus? What does this show of appetite v.s. mind to continue the journey home?
Q4: How does the symbolism of the lotus flowers have a connection to Hindu’s culture and the Ramayana?
Q5: What is the tone in lines 110-113? Thought Questions Cyclops
Passage Lines: 396-455
Q1: Is the Cyclops really bad or is he just portrayed that way because of the authors biases? Odysseus killed many Cicones when raiding their city and is still portrayed as the good guy. Why? What is the author’s bias, if any?
Q2: How does this story develop a shared identity between all who read it? Why is this useful?
Q3: Why does the Odyssey portray the Cyclops, who represents a morally bad person in this story, as being someone who is arrogant, and not intelligent? What does this show the author is trying to teach the readers?
Q4: How come the cyclops leave his club after he leaves in the morning? What does it show about his opinion of his prisoners?
Q5: Why does the author describe the Cyclops wound so in depth? How does this show the entertainment people enjoyed in the time the book was written?
Q6: What is figurative language shown in line 438-440?
1. Enticing (231)
2. Plunder (231)
3. Sumptuous (234)
4. Moored (234)
5. Enthralling (237)
6. Steadfast (238)
Passage 1: Aeolus Lines 3261 Pages 231-232
1. Why would Odysseus’ crew members think he is keeping all the treasure to himself?
2. How does appetite verses mind relate to both Odysseus and his crew members?
3. Why did Odysseus not tell his crew members that there were winds in the bag?
4. To what extent does Odysseus’ crew admire him and to what extent do they despise him?
5. How does seeing Ithaca after a long journey but not being able to reach it relate to Tantalus’ punishment?
6. How does the tone of the passage change drastically after the winds burst out of the bag and blow Odysseus and his crew back to Aeolus’ island?
Passage 2: Laestrygonians Lines: 110-145 Pages 233-234
1. Why did Odysseus not leave the ship, and what does this action show about his character?
2. How did the crew members and the Laestrygonians both violate Xenia?
3. Why did Odysseus’ crew not run when they saw the terrifying queen?
4. By having only Odysseus’ ship escape, what does this show about fate versus freedom?
5. How does the princess relate to the magician who was disguised as a golden deer?
6. How does the tone differ from before the crew members enter the palace, after they meet the queen, to when only Odysseus’ ship escapes?
Passage 3: Circe Lines: 240-268 Pages 237-238
1. Why would Eurylochus let the rest of the crew walk in when he stayed behind suspecting a trap? He had fought with these men for ten years in Troy; they were his brothers.
2. Why did Circe choose to turn the crew into pigs? What is the significance of this animal?
3. Why did Circe feed the crew, then turn them into pigs? Did she want them to remember what they were missing when they were pigs, and why or why not?
4. What message does the men’s actions and the consequences for their actions give to the reader?
5. What possessed Odysseus’ crew members to break Xenia by entering Circe’s palace and eating her food without bringing a gift?
6. How is being turned into a pig while still possessing the mind of a man tantalizing for the crew members?
passage one: pg. 271 lines 830
1. How does Elpenor’s death and burial relate to the concept of fate?
2. Why does Circe feel obligated to help Odysseus and his men get home?
3. Why would Odysseus and his men become so emotional at Elpenor’s funeral when they hadn’t cried after finding him dead and leaving his corpse to rot?
4. Why do Odysseus and his men agree to have one last party with Circe?
5. How is the party with Circe and Elpenor’s death a contradiction?
passage two: pg. 276 lines 180-207
1. Why would the shipmates so nonchalantly agree to let their captain and wellliked leader play with death and take such a sacrifice with no true benefits except a story to tell?
2. How do the Siren’s use of an epithet to coax Odysseus into leaving the ship affect the main reason why he wanted to hear their song?
3. Why does Odysseus have such a deep longing to be remembered as the one who survived the Sirens if he’s risking so much in the process?
4. Why do the Sirens mention they know about pain that the Greeks and Trojans endured when trying to get Odysseus to come to them?
5. Why would the narrator speak of everybody falling to a “dead calm” when they were getting close to the Sirens and needed to get to work and prepare to survive?
passage three: pg lines 386-412
1. Why do Odysseus’ shipmates ignore him and eat the cattle of the sun even though they know it will lead to their deaths?
2. Why doesn’t Helios punish Odysseus’ crew himself?
3. What does Helios mean when he says he will “go to the House of Death and blaze among the dead” if Zeus doesn’t kill Odysseus’ crew?
4. What is the importance of repeatedly calling the gods “deathless”?
5. Why does Odysseus place some of the blame for falling asleep on Zeus?
How is the way Poseidon is acting contradicting to the way G-ds should act?
How is Poseidon acting like Sita in the scene of the golden deer?
Do you think Poseidon’s tone influenced Zeus to agree with Poseidon on punishing Odysseus?
Why is Poseidon is so concerned about losing the respect of the other gods and mortals?
Why does Poseidon choose to punish Odysseus by not letting him return home?
Why does Poseidon go to Zeus for advice rather than Athena who is punishing Odysseus as well?
When Odysseus returns home do you think he feels depressed that his adventure is ending or do you think he feels comforted by the thought of staying in one place and feeling at home?
How Is G-ds vs. Humans shown in the fact that Athena feels no empathy towards Odysseus’s non-existence in his son’s and his wife’s life?
How do you think the setting of the barren island influenced the level of Odysseus’s desperate tone towards Athena?
How is humiliation shown when Odysseus bows down to Athena?
Do you think Athena feels pleased or guilty with Odysseus’s confusion as to where he is?
How is the way Odysseus is acting contradicting his strong and unbroken personality?
Why does Athena come down as a man rather than a woman?
Why do the G-ds punish the other shipmates and kill them when it is Odysseus who is the one who should be punished? Do they do this to make his reputation seem worse?
How Is G-ds vs. Humans shown in the fact that Athena feels no empathy towards Odysseus’s non-existence in his son’s and his wife’s life?
How was fate contradicted in the crewmembers lives as they were killed because the g-ds decided to kill them?
f Athena feels Odysseus is foolish, why does she allow him to still be in rule of Ithaca?
Do you think Athena knows she hurt Odysseus’s family and yells at Odysseus out of insecurity for feeling guilty?
How do you think Athena would have handled the situation with Odysseus if he had ruled a poorer island?