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Background Notes: The Odyssey

What is an Epic?

  • An __________ is a long poem about a national or legendary hero.

  • Ancient Greece produced two epics- ____________ and the Odyssey.

The Hero

  • The Odyssey is named for its hero, _______________, who is also known as Ulysses.

Where It All Began…

  • Starts in medias res: _____________________

    • Immediately engages the reader

    • Provides narrative space for long _________________

    • Gives story a satisfying unity when it ends where it began

Who wrote this stuff?

  • Both of the epics have been attributed to a blind traveling poet named ______________

Who is Homer?

  • Very little is known about his life

  • Was a bard- ____________________

    • Bards made their living by singing folk tales and _____________to audiences.

  • The Odyssey was a popular story, Homer may have been the only one to write it down

  • The style of The Odyssey has ________________

- like a chorus or refrain

-musical elements

  • The Odyssey was recited with lyre in hand

  • Was a _________________ performance

What is The Odyssey and Iliad About?

  • Both epics are based on the ____________, which occurred in about 1200 BC

  • According to the legend, the war began with __________, wife to King Menelaus, who was kidnapped by ___________.

  • Achilles and Odysseus sailed to Troy to bring them __________.

How long did it last?

  • The war went on for ______________ and the Trojans were defeated

Homer’s second epic

  • Odysseus, the smartest of all Greeks, outsmarts the ______________ with the ____________________

  • He fools Trojans by leaving a huge wooden ____________ filled with Greek warriors

  • Due to Odysseus being instrumental in the destruction of Troy, the gods are MAD!

  • They vow that he will have a LONG and difficult journey home. Odysseus’ journey home takes _________ to complete!!!

How long is The Odyssey?

  • The Odyssey is comprised of 11,300 lines and divided into ______books

  • We will only read selected passages from the poem

Three Plot Strands

  • One: Story of what happens in Ithaca to wife and son while they are waiting for Odysseus’ return

  • Two: Odysseus’s wanderings

  • Three: Odysseus returning to Ithaca and joining forces with son to destroy enemies

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