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THE ODYSSEY

TITLE: The Odyssey

AUTHOR: Homer

NATIONALITY: Greek

GENRE: Epic

MAJOR CHARACTERS

1. Odysseus: brave hero, King of Ithaca, clever, survivor, husband to Penelope, father to Telemachus

2. Penelope: patient, faithful, wife of Odysseus, mother to Telemachus, keeps hope that Odysseus is alive

3. Telemachus: only child of Odysseus & Penelope, has trouble controlling his anger, helps father kill suitors

MINOR CHARACTERS

1. Poseidon: god of sea, seeks revenge on Odysseus, says "man is nothing without the gods"

2. Athena: goddess, helps Odysseus, helps Telemachus

3. Polyphemus: giant cyclops, eats Odysseus' men, is blinded, says, "nobody has blinded me"

4. Circe: witch, changes Odysseus' men into animals, Odysseus stays with her 7 yrs

5. Calypso: no one comes or goes from her island, falls in love with Odysseus

6. Hermes: messenger god, helps Odysseus

7. Teiresias: dead, blind prophet who tells Odysseus how to get home

8. Eurycleia: servant who recognizes Odysseus by his scar

9. Melanthe: servant who betrays Penelope

10. Antinous: rude suitor who angers Telemachus & is later killed by him

LITERARY TERMS

1. Setting: Odysseus travels to many places and overcomes numerous obstacles while trying to return home to Ithaca. These include Ithaca (his home, Troy, Cyclops' island, Aeolus' island, Circe's island, Hades, Scylla & Charybdis, Calypso's island, Phaegia, Ithaca

2. Themes: a)A true hero will survive
b)mental strength is just as important as physical strength

3. External Conflict: a)Greeks vs. Trojans
b) Odysseus vs. Poseidon
c) Penelope/Telemachus vs.suitors
d) Odysseus/Telemachus vs. suitors
e) Odysseus vs. numerous obstacles

4. Internal Conflict: a) Odysseus-remain faithful to Penelope or cheat
b) Penelope-remain faithful to Odysseus or give in to suitors

5. Dramatic irony: a) we know Odysseus is alive & cursed by Poseidon; Ithacans, including Penelope & Telemachus, are not sure
b) we know the Greeks are in the horse; Trojans do not
c) we know Odysseus cheats on Penelope; she does not
d) we & Telemachus know Odysseus is the old beggar; Penelope & suitors do not
e)we know Anticlea, Odysseus' mother is dead; he does not

6. Tragic Flaw: Odysseus has too much pride or arrogance; he thinks he needs no help from gods but can do all things on his own; only when he realizes that he is wrong does Poseidon allow him to return home

7. Hero: Odysseus is the hero; he is strong, clever & cunning, a leader, a great warrior


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