The Odyssey is a myth, or a religion that people no longer believe. This particular one was written by the greatest poet of ancient Greece, a blind guy by the name of Homer, not to be confused with the fat guy from The Simpsons.
In order to better understand The Odyssey, we need to know a little bit about the gods and goddesses that run the world this story takes place in. In class we took notes using this Power Point. All you need to have for notes are: the Greek name, the Roman name, what he/she is god of, and any little tidbit you think is important (like their weapon). Here is the crossword that we did in class: Gods and Goddesses Crossword
The Odyssey is part two of a two part tale. The first part is The Iliad, which is described in a little bit more detail on the column to the right.
You can read a short version and slightly longer version of The Odyssey by going to this link: Myth Web
You can also see the introduction Power Point we viewed in class by clicking here.
We did a reading comprehension worksheet, not on The Odyssey, but on mythology. If you didn't get it, you can get it here. Remember to try and answer the questions in your own words. Just copying from the text is NOT an acceptable answer.
Like Mythology? Try WINGED SANDALS
The Voyage Home for Odysseus
Here is a copy of the notes handout.
Look at the Introduction PowerPoint.
We start out The Odyssey with Telemachus (Odysseus's son) looking for Odysseus. The son is now around 20 years old so we know that if the war took 10 years then it has been 10 years since Odysseus has left home. So where is he?
To make matters worse for Telemachus, nobody but his mom (Penelope) and he believes that Odysseus is still alive. All the losers in Ithaca (Odysseus's home) want Penelope to marry one of them so that there can be a king again. Telemachus leaves to go find his dad.
Meanwhile, Odysseus washes ashore a strange place. He is taken to the king of that land. Odyssesu then begins to tell the king his story of where he has been the last ten years...
Here is each stop on Odysseus's journey:
Stop 1 - Ciconia - Odysseus and his men are restless from the war and head north (they need to go southwest) to attack the town of Ciconia. Odysseus tells the men to stock up on supplies and plunder and to get out of there fast! The men, however, are so pleased by the ease of their victory that they stick around and eat and drink and hold hands with the women of the town untilt he men come home and start throwing spears. Odysseus and his men quickly get out of there, leaving their supplies behind and losing around 18 men.
Stop 2 - The Island of the Lotus Eaters - Affectionately known in class as "Hippy Crackhead Island." In class we read this excerpt from a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (we just read section 8, but if you liked it, you can click here to read the whole poem):
Basically, the poem is showing that the people on this island are addicted to this plant and sit around all day eating the flowers. Odysseus's men who went there to scout, got addicted and did not want to leave. Odysseus had to drag them back and tie them up to try and get them home.
Stop 3 - Polyphemus - We read this passage (make sure you answer the questions) about the visit with the Cyclops.
Stop 4 - Isle of Aeolus - You need to read the first four paragraphs of this link to Myth Web.
Stop 5 - The Laestrygonians - Get the reading passage and the questions for this stop by clicking here.
Stop 6 - Circe's Island - Here is the handout we did with her. It has an exercise designed to practice the EOC style questions of using context clues to figure out words.
Stop 7 - Hades, the Land of the Dead - Read the excerpt from Myth Web. This account leaves out a few things, so we'll fill it in here:
Stop 8 - The Sirens - We read this out of our text book. I figured that since they sing, they should be read in poetry form.
Here are the questions that we answered from the reading:
Here is a poem someone wrote about the siren song:
Stop 9 - Scylla and Charybdis -Read this excerpt. Only the front side deals with The Odyssey. The back side tells how Scylla became a monster and about aguy who ate magic grass. Circe makes a cameo in it too.
This is possibly what the bottom of the whirlpool Charybdis looks like.
Stop 10, 11, 12 - Helios / Charybdis / Calypso - For these stops, we read this excerpt for homework and took an open notes quiz on it. If you are having difficulty opening it, try the PDF version. You know, just for fun, I might just ask these questions tomorrow:
*extra credit* How do they always refer to Circe (Hint - look at the epithet section to the right on this web page)?
Stop 13 - The Phaeacians -This is where we started! Odysseus has washed up on shore and was found by the beautiful Naussica. She takes him to her home (the local palace) and he tells her dad, King Alcinuous, his story (which is all of the above). The king is pleased and offers Odysseus a ride home.
Review all of the above with these crossword puzzles:
THUS ENDS THE FIRST PART - THE SECOND PART OF THE ODYSSEY IS HIS RETURN HOME
Stop 14 - Ithaca - In class, we read the return home in drama form from the magazine READ. Click below to read it:
And, of course, no reading of The Odyssey would be complete without watching The Simpsons version of it from their "Tales from the Public Domain" episode. What we didn't watch was a sorry Joan of Arc rendition and a great Hamlet version, both also in that same episode.
Return to www.lordalford.com
The definition of epic is a long poem that tells the story of a hero. Some well known epics are:
Epic Conventions / Hero's Journey
Epic conventions are simply put just guidelines that an epic follows. We may have talked about the Hero's Journey. We are going to find these conventions in The Odyssey. Here are those worksheets:
We watched Star Wars in class not JUST because I like it, but also because it follows the epic conventions. Luke Skywalker is every bit as mucht he epic hero as is Odysseus (except of course that Star Wars is not an epic, it is not poetry, so therefore it is a saga, which means a long story about a hero).
The Wilhelm Scream
In 1951, a series of screams were recorded for a Warner Bros fim titled Distant Drums. The recording was made for a man who was bitten and dragged underwater by an aligator. Since then, it has appeared in many films and was used in Star Wars when a stormtrooper gets hit and falls down a shaft.
Click to hear the scream. See if you can hear it in other movies.
Watch the Wilhelm compilation we watched in class.
The Iliad short version:
It all began with a wedding. All the gods and goddesses were invited - except one, Eris, the goddess of trouble making. She went to the wedding reception and threw in a golden apple with the words, "To the fairest," which means, "to the most beautiful."
Predictably, all the goddesses claimed to be the most beautiful and eventually it came down to Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena. A young man was picked at random off a distant hillside to be the judge. Each goddess bribed him with a prize to pick her. He picked Aphrodite and got her prize, the love of the most beautiful woman (not goddess) in the world. The problem was two fold: One, he was not some random nobody, he was a prince of Troy, a great city-kingdom known for being unbeatable since it had great walls around the city. Two, the most beautiful woman was Helen, and she was already married to a king in Greece.
All the kings of Greece got together and took 1,000 ships to attack Troy. The war lasted 10 years.Eventually, Odysseus comes up with the idea of faking like they gave up and went home. They left a giant wooden horse on the beach for the Trojans. The Trojans, glad for the war to be over, bring int he offering and have a great party. That night, Odysseus and his men sneak out of their hiding spot inside the horse and opent he gates. The Greeks, who had not really left, came in and slaughtered the Trojans.
Want more mythology?
Try this page: Lord Alford's Greek Mythology Page
There is also much more mythology than just Greek and Roman. Try these others:
If you really like mythology, there is a mythology class offered at Orange High School that you might be interested in.
You might also be interested in these links:
And you should seriously consider reading:
Read more about Cy the cyclopic kitten on Bubo's Blog.
Also, for extra credit, e-mail what is this skull:
The early Greeks thought this was proof of cyclops. What is it?
O.K., not my game and not really a video game; however, if you can make it through the game, you know the story and it is a whole lot better to study this way rather than to read notes over again...
This movie is about some escaped convicts trying to get to freedom and it is actually loosely based on The Odyssey. I didn't care for it, but maybe you will.
This is a political cartoon from 1998. See if you can figure out the reference (you can click and see it bigger). If you can't, call your mom or dad into the room. E-mail me the answer and I'll give you extra credit: E-MAIL ME
If you like playing the game in class, here is a printout of the board with directions. Anything can be used as pieces. To print this, you will either need to use long paper or click the little scale button when you print.
Here is the handout for the monster project. It is due Friday! Get to work!!!!!!!
Here are the lines we mentioned in class from Dr. Fautus about how beautiful Helen was. In the play, Dr. Faustus has sold his sold to a devil and asked to see Helen. He says this when he sees her, but then realizes that it is not the real Helen, but a demon in disguise.
this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,
What is an epithet?
The early story tellers didn't want you to struggle remembering who was whom, so they often described the person/ god/ goddess/ thing the same way each time. Much the same as we see TV characters and cartoons always wearing the same clothes. It is easier that way. Some epithets in The Odyssey are:
Look over all your notes, obviously, but the more important ones are:
These are available on this page. If you missed them in class, we have a simple test review sheet - it is not pretty, but it will lead you in the right direction: TEST REVIEW SHEET
First Trojan horse virus warning