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The Odyssey Background and Facts

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					The Odyssey Background and Facts

   Author – Homer
   Homer collected the stories of the great Greek war and turned
    them into one long epic written in two books: The Iliad and The
    Odyssey
   The Iliad tells of the Trojan War
   Trojan War
          Ten years long
          Fought between Troy and an alliance of Greek kings
          Cause of the war – sexual jealousy
                 Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, left
                  her husband, a Greek king named Menelaus, and ran
                  off with Paris, a Trojan prince
The Odyssey Background and Facts

   The Odyssey is the story of one Greek soldier's
    journey home from the Trojan War – Odysseus
   Epic – a long narrative poem that tells of the
    adventures of a hero who in some way embodies
    the values of his civilization
   The Iliad is the model for the epic of war
   The Odyssey is the model for the epic of the long
    journey
   The Iliad and The Odyssey were used in Greek
    schools for centuries to teach virtues
        Characteristics of an Epic
   A physically impressive hero of national importance
   A vast setting encompassing much of the known world
    and sometimes the Land of the Dead
   A quest or journey undertaken in search of something of
    value
   The involvement of supernatural forces
   Glorification of the hero at the end
   A basis in a specific culture or society
         Epics in Ancient Times
   No movies, television, possibly no written history
   Stories were told orally by story-tellers
   Rhapsodes - ”singers of tales”; the historians and
    entertainers and myth-makers
   The minstrels would travel from town to town
    singing of recent events or of the gods and
    goddesses and heroes of the day
                    The Iliad
   Set in the tenth (final) year of the Trojan War
   Greeks attacked Troy to get revenge for the insult
    to King Menelaus of Sparta
   Greek kings banded together under Agamemnon,
    Menelaus's brother
   They sailed across the Aegean Sea and attacked
    Troy
   They succeeded, burned Troy to the ground, and
    killed all the inhabitants except for those they
    took as slaves
                    The Iliad cont.
       Achilles – the greatest of the Greek warriors; died
        in battle
       Agamemnon returned home from war victorious
        only to be murdered by either his unfaithful wife
        or her lover
         Homer – wife's lover
         Aescylus – wife
       Odysseus – hero known for both his brain and his
        brawn; the hero of The Odyssey
                   Odysseus
   A hero in trouble
   Relatable because, like us normal people,
    Odysseus faces many difficult choices
   Married to Penelope – beautiful, strong woman
   They had one son, Telemachus – still a toddler
    when Odysseus went to war
   Odysseus tried to avoid going to war – acted
    insane when they came to get him
                  Odysseus cont.
   Odysseus thought up the Trojan horse trick
         For ten years the Greeks had fought the Trojans outside
          the massive walls surrounding the city of Troy
         Odysseus suggested they build a gigantic wooden
          horse and hide soldiers inside it
         The Greeks rolled it to the city gates and then
          withdrew
         Trojans, thinking the Greeks surrendered and left a
          peace offering, brought the horse into the city
         At night, the Greeks inside the horse broke out, opened
          the gates to the whole army and began the last battle of
          the war
                  The Odyssey
   Theme – the characters' struggles to find their
    proper places in life
   Structure – does not begin with Odysseus'
    departure from Troy; starts with Telemachus
    dealing with a group of suitors determined to
    pressure Penelope into marriage and rob
    Telemachus of his inheritance
   Starts ten years after Odysseus left Troy and
    twenty years after he left his family to go fight in
    the war
              The Odyssey cont.
   Telemachus is in search of his father
   Odysseus is in search of inner peace and balance
   Both quests frame the poem and incorporate the
    reader, because all of us are searching for our real
    identities
        Mythical aspect of The Odyssey
       Myths – traditional stories, rooted in a particular
        culture, that usually explain a belief, a ritual, or a
        mysterious natural phenomenon
         Myths are essentially religious because they are
          concerned with the relationship between
          human beings and the unknown or spiritual
          realm
       The Odyssey is concerned with the relationships
        between humans and the gods and goddesses of
        Greece

				
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