Greek Mythology, Epic Poetry, and the Odyssey

what is odyssey based on?
its an epic poem on greek mythology

what is an epic poem?
a long narrative poem about a national or legendary hero

what are the characteristics of an epic poem?
-incorporates myth, legend, folk tale, and history
-heroes and their adventures appear longer than life (epic hero)

who is homer?
author of Iliad & Odyssey
-the Iliad tells the story of the trojan war
-the Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus’s long trip home after war
-used the legendary material of the trojan jar as the basis for his poems

what was the trojan war about?
-all the kings of Greece went to Troy to fight to get Helen back
-the only Greeks fought the Trojans for 10 years
-Odysseus came to the rescue with a strategy to win the war that involved a huge wooden horse

fighting over a girl?
-Paris went to Sparta met and fell in love with Helen, and they ran away together to Troy (Paris’s home)
-Menelaus demanded his wife to be returned, and when Paris refused, the Trojan war began

what was the trojan horse?
-to gain entrance into Troy, clever Odysseus ordered a large wooden horse to be built
-its insides were hollow so that soldiers could hide within it
-while the Trojans slept, Odysseus and his men climbed out of the horse’s belly, let their comrades into the city and slaughtered the spartans

the Odyssey:
11,300 line poem divided into 24 books (chapters)
-it was passed down orally between the generations

three parts to the story:
-what happens in Ithaca to his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus while he is gone?
-what happens when Odysseus returns home to reclaim his throne and family?
-how long has Odysseus been away from home?

list themes in the Odyssey
-loyalty & devotion
-wandering hero
-triumph of good over evil
-obedience to the laws of the gods
-greek ideal of a strong body and mind

who was Odysseus?
-the son of Laertes and the ruler or the island Kingdom of Ithaca
-he was one of the most prominent Greek leaders in the Trojan war, and is the epic hero of the Odyssey

who was Penelope?
-she was the wife of Odysseus
-she was known for her cleverness and for her faithfulness to her husband for 20 years

who was Telemachus?
-Odysseus and Penelope’s son
-he grew up without a father, but Athena helped him gain self-confidence and assertiveness