Title/Author: The OdysseyBy: HomerDate of Publication/Genre: unknown; epic poem
| Biographical information about the author: Next to nothing is known about Homer. He probably lived in the late eighth and early seventh centuries. He was blind and he also composed Iliad.
| Historical information on the period of publication: The time was very influential to the story. During this time, all stories were passed on by word of mouth. People who were gifted with a silver tongue were held in high regard at that time. Songs were told almost as though they were singing them. Some people of high power would blind people that had a knack for telling so that the story teller would keep telling stories to them. Also, people didn’t have many explanations for things today, such as how the sun moved, why the weather changes, etc., so a lot of people back then believed this. It was basically a religion to them.
| Characteristics of the genre: An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem that usually tells about a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation.
| Plot Summary: Ten years have passed since the fall of Troy, and the Greek hero Odysseus still has not returned to his kingdom in Ithaca. A large and rowdy mob of suitors who have overrun Odysseus’s palace and pillaged his land continue to court his wife, Penelope. She has remained faithful to Odysseus. Prince Telemachus, Odysseus’s son, wants desperately to throw them out but does not have the confidence or experience to fight them. One of the suitors, Antinous, plans to assassinate the young prince, eliminating the only opposition to their dominion over the palace. He plans to ambush him. Unknown to the suitors, Odysseus is still alive. The beautiful nymph Calypso, possessed by love for him, has imprisoned him on her island, Ogygia. He longs to return to his wife and son, but he has no ship or crew to help him escape. On Mount Olympus, Zeus sends Hermes to rescue Odysseus from Calypso while Poseidon was on a trip to Africa. Hermes persuades Calypso to let Odysseus build a ship and leave. The homesick hero sets sail, but when Poseidon, god of the sea, finds him sailing home when he had gotten back from Africa, he sends a storm to wreck Odysseus’s ship. Poseidon has harbored a bitter grudge against Odysseus since the hero blinded his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus, earlier in his travels. Athena intervenes to save Odysseus from Poseidon’s wrath, and the beleaguered king lands at Scheria, home of the Phaeacians. Nausicaa, the Phaeacian princess, shows him to the royal palace, and Odysseus receives a warm welcome from the king and queen. When he identifies himself as Odysseus, his hosts, who have heard of his exploits at Troy, are stunned. They promise to give him safe passage to Ithaca, but first they beg to hear the story of his adventures.His tale begins after the end of the Trojan War. On his way back home, he lands on the Island of the Lotus Eaters. The Lotus Eaters were not hostile and only offered the native lotus of the island to eat, but the plant made whoever ate lazy and want nothing to do but lie around and eat the lotus. Odysseus had gotten all of his men that had eaten the lotus and tied them down to the boat. He then called for the rest of his men to get back on the boat. Odysseus and his men then land on an island close to the island of the Cyclopes. He takes one ship and a crew of men to the island of the Cyclopes. After they land, they find a cave, which Cyclopes live in. In the cave, there is an abundance of food and sheep. The crew members say that they should take the food and livestock and leave, but Odysseus wants to see the Cyclops. They wait for the Cyclops. When the Cyclops does come, he takes a giant boulder and blocks the entrance with it. Odysseus asks the Cyclops for gifts since they are his guests; it is common curtsey to give your guests gifts. The name of the Cyclops is Polyphemus. The Cyclops doesn’t agree...
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