800 – 600 BC by Homer Best known, stupendously awesome works of ancient literature Ancient epic delivered first in oral tradition Sequel to the Iliad About Odysseus on his way back from the war in Troy Hundreds of allusions to this epic poem
Along with Homer’s Iliad, the Odyssey is one of the two great epics of ancient Greece. Both poems display many of the epic’s characteristics, featuring a larger than life hero, deeds of great valor, and the interference of the gods in human affairs.
literary devices typical of epics: opening with an invocation to the muse; beginning the story in medias res (basically, “in the middle of things”); providing long lists of people, genealogies, and places significant to mythological history; and using epithets, or repeated nicknames, for various characters, major and minor. For the Ancient Greeks, an epic was written in poetic meter of “dactylic hexameter”
Western literature first adventure story, almost fantasy genre Has profound reflections on heroism, love, and human life Odysseus uses his wits and strength to overcome Also has strong female characters almost everywhere, unlike the Iliad
Odysseus should’ve already returned home from the Trojan War; he hasn’t His wife, Penelope, waits for him (for 20 years) His son, Telemachus, waits for him; he hasn’t seen his father since he was a young boy Odysseus must overcome different obstacle to get home
Greek Hero Husband to Penelope Father to Telemachus King of Ithaca Wiliest of all Greek Heroes Enormous strength Protected by Athena Downfall: hubris – excessive pride
Son of Odysseus and Penelope Prudent and clear headed Has innate strength Protected by Athena, goddess of wisdom and battle
Wife to Odysseus; Mom to Telemachus Queen of Ithaca Suitors want to marry her, as they believe Odysseus is dead; she waits Fortitude and determination
Daughter of Zeus Goddess of wisdom and warfare Helps Odysseus Disguises herself throughout epic
God of the sea; uncle to Athena Forces Odysseus to wander the seas for twenty years
Menelaos’s wife and instigator of the entire Trojan war Helen was the most beautiful woman ever - married to a Greek king Menelaos, until Paris, the most handsome Trojan guy ever, decided he wanted her… So he stole Helen. The Greeks launched a war against Troy; Menelaos got his wife back.
From Troy in Asia Minor across the islands of the Mediterranean Sea (near Italy) and back to Ithaka, Greece, sometime in the Bronze Age.
Symbol – something that represents something else Imagery – words that create vivid images in our heads Allegory - work in which the characters and events are to be understood as representing other things and symbolically expressing a deeper, often spiritual, moral, or political meaning
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