�The Birds� Study Guide - DOC

Document Sample
�The Birds� Study Guide - DOC Powered By Docstoc
					Odyssey Study Guide Book 9 and 10; Book 11
by Sophocles pp. 899-909

  Answer your study questions in complete sentences, practicing the TS+CD+CM
   method (essay style) whenever possible. Be sure to cite your pages (a-la MLA)
   as well.
  If you use outside sources, YOU MUST CITE THEM!
  DO NOT FORGET to do the Book 10 Highlighting Summary

    Read the pages assigned and take Cornell Notes. (Yes, you must do
     Cornell, so do not whine and just do it!).
    Describe the Cyclops, including his intelligence, or lack thereof.
    What is the mistake (or mistakes) Odysseus makes while on this island?
     How does this show hubris? How does Odysseus remedy this situation?
     How does he make it worse?
    Describe the Cyclopians in general.
    What motivates Odysseus to explore the island? Who does he take with
     him? What do they find?
    What one scene appeals to the reader’s sympathy and make Polyphemus
     more than just a brute?
    What action at the end of the book could be considered foreshadowing?
     What do you know will happen to Odysseus?

Book X Highlighting Summary: Instructions: Read the following summaries and
highlight critical elements. Since we are only reading excerpts from the book, it
is important to look at what has transpired before or during the readings.

Odysseus continues his story for Alkinoos. After the encounter with Polyphemos,
Odysseus and his crew reach the island of the wind god Aiolos. Aiolos hosts them
for a month, and then provides Odysseus with a bag containing storm winds to help
them sail. They sail off with his westerly wind at their backs, and after ten days
come within sight of Ithaka. But while Odysseus sleeps, his crew, mistakenly
believing Aiolos' bag is full of silver and gold, greedily open it. All the winds
rush out and the ship is sent off course in a hurricane.

They are sent back to Aiolos' island, and Odysseus explains to him what happened.
Aiolos believes Odysseus' journey is cursed by the gods and refuses to help him
further. Odysseus and his crew sail on without any wind and reach Lamos, land of
the giant Laistrygonians. The king, Antiphates, and the queen eat one of Odysseus'
envoys, and the crew barely escapes as the other Laistrygonians shoot boulders at
the retreating ship.

The men arrive at the island of the goddess Kirke. Odysseus kills a buck and boosts
his crew's morale with a great feast. He tells his crew that he saw smoke rising
from the forest, but his men, thinking back on the their last few encounters with
strangers, are afraid to meet any new ones. But Odysseus, after a random selection,
sends half of the weeping men under command of Eurylokhos off to investigate.

Outside Kirke's house lie subdued and spellbound wolves and   mountain lions. Inside,
Kirke sings while weaving on her loom. All the men - except   for Eurylokhos, who
suspects deceit - are reassured by this gentle behavior and   enter. Kirke fixes them
a feast and adds something to their drinks; once they drink   it, they are turned
into pigs. She shuts them in a pigsty while Eurylokhos runs   back to alert the crew.

Odysseus goes alone to her house despite Eurylokhos' protestations. The god Hermes
stops him on his way and gives him a plant that will preserve him against Kirke's
own pig-poison. Then Odysseus should threaten her with death, at which point Kirke
will offer to sleep with him. Odysseus must accept, as it will break her spell over
his crew.
Odysseus visits Kirke, and the plant works its magic against her poison. He goes
through with Hermes' plan, and by his fortitude she takes him to be the great
Odysseus. As Hermes predicted, she asks him to sleep with her; he first makes her
promise not to use any more enchantments. They retire to her opulent bedchamber,
but Odysseus is concerned about his companions. Kirke turns them back into men, now
looking better than ever. She tells Odysseus to have his men bring their ships and
gear ashore and come back with everyone. He does, and they all return but the still
suspicious Eurylokhos.

The men are bathed by Kirke's maids and given a dinner. Kirke invites Odysseus to
stay with her on her island. The men end up staying for a year in the paradise
until they finally remind Odysseus of their mission. Odysseus asks Kirke to help
them sail home, but she says he must go to Hades, the land of Death, and speak to
the blind seer Teiresias. She gives the dejected Odysseus detailed instructions for
sailing to Hades and preparing rites to summon Teiresias. Odysseus tells his crew
it is time to leave, but the youngest, Elpenor, having drunkenly slept on the roof,
falls and kills himself.

Analysis:

Temptation hurts the men three times in this book. First, the crew greedily opens
the bag of winds, even disloyally suspecting Odysseus of keeping his treasure from
them. Next, the men foolhardily accept Kirke's hospitality and drinks. Finally,
everyone, Odysseus most of all, gladly spends a year basking in the luxury of
Kirke's domain, thoughts of home far from their minds. Indeed, despite his usual
levelheaded decision-making, Odysseus' great character flaw is his occasional rash,
emotional behavior - witness his unwise taunting of Polyphemos in Book IX, or, as
Eurylokhos notes, his choice merely to see Polyphemos.

Kirke, in some ways, is a double of the goddess Kalypso. Whereas Kalypso critiqued
the gender double standard among gods, arguing against the unfairness of a system
in which male gods can take mortal lovers as they please while goddesses cannot -
and, by extension, it seems, applying this critique to Greek society - Kirke turns
the tables on the usual male/female power dynamic. She exploits the weakness and
desperation of the men, turning them into the pigs she most likely thinks they
resemble in behavior.

Interestingly, Kirke is first paired up with another woman in the poem - Penelope.
She is first shown weaving at her loom, the activity Penelope uses to ward off her
suitors. Since Kirke is another of the poem's examples of a symbolically castrating
woman, and since Penelope has raised some doubts about the sincerity of her
fidelity, further parallels are drawn with Penelope emerging as the lesser woman.
Penelope, too, has a household of men who have turned her place into a sty, but she
is not strong enough to shoo them away as Kirke can do.

Perhaps it is Kirke's strength, not to mention her divine beauty, which attracts
Odysseus. As with Kalypso, he does not seem to have any misgivings about committing
an act of infidelity with her. Rather than think guiltily about his wife at home,
he instead worries about the well-being of his shipmates.

Odyssey Study Guide Book 11 Study Questions
1) You are to read, highlight and annotate the copy of Book 11.
For paper conservation purposes, only 40 copies will be made available in class; a
copy will also be placed on Snapgrades and sent via e-mail from which you may
download and read. It is seven pages long.

2) After reading Book 11 (please read it first!), read the handout that I will
provide for you on the critical elements of Book 11. Write two paragraphs
discussing what you have learned about Book 11 based on the reading, the lectures
and information up to this point, and the critical elements handout. You may the
following questions as guides:
 Why do you think Odysseus must go to the Underworld? Do you think the reasons that
  Homer and Circe give are good ones (pp. 155-57, 161)? Why do the souls in the underworld
  want to drink blood? In what ways are they like the men, the suitors, beggars? Vase
  painting: Odysseus consults the shade of Tiresias (Perseus).

 What points do you think Homer is making about life, fame, glory, fate, and death through
  Achilles’ speech

 What do you think Odysseus learns about the life of a man and the afterlife from Elpenor
  (pp. 159-60), Anticleia (162-164), and Achilles (172-174)? What do you think of the Greek
  version of the afterlife? What values seem most important to the Greeks?

 What seems to be the overriding theme of Book XI?

				
DOCUMENT INFO