Key Facts

Title: The Odyssey

Author: Attributed to Homer, although some scholars believe there were other authors, as well.

Type of Work: Poem

Genre: Epic, mythological

Original language: Ancient Greek

Written in: Greece, probably around 700 B.C.E.

Narrator: The author, primarily. Books 9-12 are narrated by Odysseus, the protagonist.

Point of View: Third-person omniscient, primarily. Books 9-12 are in third-person limited, from the point of view of Odysseus, with Odysseus sometimes expressing the thoughts of other characters.

Tense: Past, often with flashbacks

Setting: Circa 12th century B.C.E, in various parts of Greece, the Aegean sea and other connected seas.

Protagonist: Odysseus, primarily. Books 1-4 feature Telemachus as a protagonist, on his journey toward manhood.

Climax: Occurs in Book 22, when Odysseus reveals himself and, with Telemachus, massacres Penelope’s suitors.

Falling action: Odysseus and his son, Telemachus, execute the suitors and all of their allies within the palace; Odysseus restores order to his home and reclaims his rule of Ithaca, then goes to bed with his wife. Athena makes peace between Odysseus and the families of the slaughtered suitors.

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