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Introduction to Homer and The Odyssey


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Title: Introduction to Homer and The Odyssey

Introduction to Homer and The Odyssey
Why are there so many translations?
  • The Odyssey is three thousand years old!
  • Numerous translations exist. Each focus on
    different aspects of the story. Some focus on the
    poetry, some on the prose, others on the imagery.
  • Imagine playing Telephone with a room full of
    painters, poets, rappers, and actors the same
    story would be interpreted beautifully, and very
    differently, by each artist.

W.H.D. Rouse
  • A British teacher and Latin scholar.
  • Translated numerous Latin works specifically so
    that they would be didactic teaching and learning
  • Rouse, William Henry Denham in Venn, J. J. A.,
    Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University.
    Press, 10 Vols, 19221958.

HOMER Made beards cool long before Zack
Galifianakis stole a baby.
Facts about Homer the Author
  • Nothing certain many theories
  • Some scholars believe the poems cannot be
    attributed to a single author
  • He was probably a blind bard who wandered from
    place to place reciting poems
  • bard bärd a composer, singer, or declaimer of
    epic or heroic verse

Homers Language
  • Attempted to be as natural, simplistic, and
    realistic as possible.
  • Tellings occurred most often after large feasts.
  • Audience was usually full, rowdy, and in
    party-mode. Short attention spans abounded.
  • Homer had to keep his story interesting if he
    expected to be invited back.
  • Word of mouth was the only form of advertising.

The Odyssey
  • The epic poem

Our Friend Odysseus
  • The hero of The Odyssey goes on one of those
    dangerous and long journeys, coming across many
    obstacles and fighting for his life numerous
    times before being able to return home after 10
  • He comes home to suitors trying to take over his

Why we read The Odyssey
  • Considered one of the most important works in The
  • canon ka-n?n\ noun an authoritative list of
    books accepted as the most influential or
    important books that have shaped a culture
  • Like Greek Mythology, its widely alluded to in
    classic and modern literature.
  • It is everywhere I am not kidding. Pretty much
    every high-schooler around the world reads it at
    some point. It will come up in conversation.
  • Professor Stokol, Harvard-Westlake High School

Homers Major Works
  • The Iliad
  • Hero Achilles
  • Main Conflict The Trojan War
  • The Odyssey
  • Hero Odysseus
  • Main Conflict Odysseus attempt to return home

The Odyssey
  • Odyssey noun
  • Etymology the Odyssey, epic poem attributed to
    Homer recounting the long wanderings of Odysseus
  • 1 a long wandering or voyage usually marked by
    many changes of fortune
  • 2 an intellectual or spiritual wandering or

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The Heroism of Odysseus
  • The Odyssey is about Odysseus adventures in
    Ithaca on his way home from Troy.
  • He departed from Troy with a fleet of 12 ships
    carrying 720 men.
  • He encounters various monsters who attempt to
    keep him from his wife, Penelope and his son,
  • He uses many tricks to get out of these difficult

  • Epic adjective
  • Etymology Latin epicus, from Greek epikos, from
    epos word, speech, poem. Date 1589
  • extending beyond the usual or ordinary
    especially in size or scope lthis genius was epic
    Times Literary Supplementgt b heroic
  • Epic Poem
  • a long narrative poem describing a hero's deeds
  • a narrative poem is one that tells a story

Epic and Yucky.
Divine Intervention
Tea Time Discussion
  • Which is more important
  • the journey
  • or
  • the destination?

  • The following are the first two paragraphs of The
    Odyssey. Pay attention to the initial details of
    the story.
  • What kind of man is Odysseus? How is he
  • What is important to him?
  • Describe the language of the text.

The Story of Odysseus Book One What Went On in
the House of Odysseus
  • This is the story of a man, one who was never
    at a loss. He had travelled far in the world,
    after the sack of Troy, the virgin fortress he
    saw many troubles and hardships in the struggle
    to save his own life and to bring back his men
    safe to their homes. He did his best, but he
    could not save his companions. For they perished
    by their own madness, because they killed and ate
    the cattle of Hyperion the Sun-god, and the god
    took care that they should never see home again.

  • At the time when I begin, all the others who had
    not been killed in the war were at home, safe
    from the perils of battle and sea but he was
    alone, longing to get home to his wife. He was
    kept prisoner by a witch, Calypso, a radiant
    creature, and herself one of the great family of
    gods, who wanted him to stay in her cave and be
    her husband. Well then, the seasons went rolling
    by, and when the year came, in which by the
    thread that fate spins for every man he was to
    return home to Ithaca, he had not yet got free of
    his troubles and come back to his own people. The
    gods were all sorry for him, except Poseidon, god
    of the sea, who bore a lasting grudge against him
    all the time until he returned.

  • What did you notice?
  • Why does it matter?

Book One Pay attention to
  • Athenas intervention
  • The suitors
  • Telemachus
  • Penelope

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