The questions for the remainder of the text are below. ALL of you are responsible for Books 10, 13, and 22. You've been placed in groups to focus on one additional section. See below if you do not remember what you need to complete.
ALL of this assignment is due in class on Tuesday, January 31.
- What sort of character is Circe? Why (aside from her magic) is she able to turn Odysseus' men into swine? What have they done to offend her, or what weakness do they show?
- What makes Odysseus succumb for a time to Circe's enticements? What is his mistake here?
- Why does Odysseus need to visit Hades (the Greek Underworld) and consult with Tiresias the blind prophet of Thebes?
Book 11 - (Vaughn, Alexa, Rachel) (Cary, Chanel, Carly)
- What does Odysseus learn from Tiresias in Hades? What other characters does Odysseus speak with, and what does he learn from them?
- In general, how would you characterize Odysseus' attitude towards his journey to the Underworld? That is, what does the episode tell us about him?
- What is the Greek Underworld (Hades) like? How is it unlike the Christian Hell?
Book 12 - (Phillip, Emma, Natalie) (Eric, Madi, Megan)
- Odysseus returns to Circe's island after his visit to Hades. What adventures still await him? What do those adventures tell us about Odysseus as a hero?
- Evaluate what happens to Odysseus’ crew. To what extent does he exhibit the characteristics of a good captain?
Book 16 - (Tiffany, Pascal, Hannah) (Timolyn, Yacine, Annie)
- In this book Odysseus reveals his identity to Telemachus. What does the reaction of the two characters tell us about the Greeks' attitude towards the expression of emotion? How does their attitude differ from ours? (Think of American film heroes like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood.)
- In what ways does Telemakhos show in this book that he has matured? Compare and contrast his behaviors in Book 16 with the beginning of the poem.
Book 18 - (Gaby, Fiona, Lile) (Brandon, Rebecca, Arlene)
- Why is it appropriate that Odysseus disguise himself from the suitors (with Athena's help) as a beggar?
- Why is it significant that Odysseus overcomes the swaggering beggar Irus?
- What part does Athena play in this book? That is, what effect does she have on Odysseus and the suitors?
Book 19 - (Carla, Noah, Emily) (Alice, Sarah, India)
- Penelope questions the stranger (Odysseus in disguise) closely, and he claims to be Aethon from Crete. Do you think that Penelope knows or suspects Odysseus' real identity? Why or why not?
- Whether she suspects anything or not, how does Penelope test the stranger? What qualities does she manifest in this book that make her a worthy match for Odysseus?
- Why does Penelope tell the stranger about the contest to string Odysseus' bow that she is planning to announce?
Book 20 - (Olivia, Dhannye, Summer) (Rose, Amy, Yandeli)
- What portents announce the struggle to come? How does Odysseus react to them?
- Athena inspires the suitors to behave even more inappropriately than usual. Why does she do that? What effect does their behavior have on Odysseus and Telemachus?
Book 21 - (Ryan, Serena, Conor) (Caroline, Sam, Kelly)
- Penelope fetches Odysseus' bow and announces the contest to the suitors. How do the suitors again prove that they deserve the "blood wedding" that awaits them?
- The suitors mock at the stranger for wanting to take his turn with the bow. Penelope tells them to let him go ahead - why?
- Odysseus strings his own bow at the book's end. How does Homer handle this moment? For example, why don't we hear anything from the suitors right after Odysseus shoots his first arrow?
Book 23 - (Phillip, Alice, Stanley) (Louie, Kyra, Yan)
- Why does the text refrain from making Penelope recognize Odysseus outright? Why does Penelope insist on testing Odysseus even after all that he has done in the hall?
- Why is it appropriate that the couple's bed should be involved in the main test of Odysseus' identity?
- Around line 300, Odysseus recounts the prophecy that Tiresias had made about the King's further adventure and death in old age? Why would Homer remind us of this prophecy, just as the poem achieves its goal of bringing Odysseus home and reestablishing him successfully as master of Ithaca?