World Lit

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The Odyssey Discussion Questions
BK.1
1. What does the invocation say the poem as a whole will emphasize? * It emphasized about a man that suffers through years of voyages before he returns home to his family. 2. What first impression does thus book give us of the gods? How much of a role do they play in human affairs? What seems to motivate their actions? * The gods were all evil and angry that Odysseus was not at the council meeting 3. What is our first introduction to various characters? The suitors? Telemachus? What qualities does Telemachus possess at the outset? * The suitors all courted Penelope while Odysseus was gone and turned their home into total chaos. Telemachus tried to help his mother by gaining control over the suitors but failed.

BK. 5
4. What sort of character is Calypso? How long does Odysseus stay on her island? What is the source of Calypso’s power of Odysseus? To what extent does she help Odysseus or hinder him once the decision to let him go is forced upon her by Hermes? * Calypso was a beautiful goddess-nymph. She was a dominating goddess that dreamed of marrying Odysseus. Odysseus stayed on her island for 7 years. Calypso offered him immortality but Odysseus refused. Calypso helped Odysseus because once he regained his old power she also gave him the power of timelessness, nature and death. BK. 9&10

5. What do the individual stories Odysseus recounts tell us about him and his men? For example, what makes Odysseus a worthy leader? Does he make mistakes while leading his men? Are there dangers in his strengths? * Odysseus and his men were very strong to be able to deal with the encounters that they had to endure. Odysseus was a very worthy leader. 6. What sort of character is Circe? What makes Odysseus succumb for a time to Circe’s enticement? What is his mistake here? * Circe was sorceress and was also very conniving. If Odysseus didn’t cooperate with her she would turn his men into pigs...
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