Coming into book 21, Odysseus has arrived home, but Athena has disguised his appearance as a beggar. What insight does this give him after being away for so long?

Coming into book 21, Odysseus has arrived home, but Athena has disguised his appearance as a beggar.  What insight does this give him after being away for so long?

How does he understand his life & his place in society by taking on one the lowest of positions in society?

Question 2

In book 21, Odysseus reveals a scar to two trusted friends as evidence of his identity.  What kind of proof is a scar to one’s notion of identity? Do you think that such a marking, like a scar, is adequate “proof” of who one is?  How would you prove who you are if no one recognized you?


Question 3

Book 22 is a bloodbath.  What role do you think revenge had in Greek society based on this scene?  Do you think popular narratives in a culture reveal a culture’s true belief in something like revenge, or do they function as warnings?  I’m thinking here of action movies, in particular, in our own time in which there is a similar bloody ending with the hero and plot resolve into a “happy” ending (with a lot of dead bodies).


Question 4

Book 23

How does Penelope finally recognize Odysseus? What is the symbolic meaning of the connection between the olive tree and the marriage bed? Given the reunion of Odysseus and Penelope, can the Odyssey be regarded as a comedy? Why? Why not?

How does Laertes, Odysseus’ father, recognize Odysseus?


Question 5

Is the ending of The Odyssey through Athena’s intervention a convincing and meaningful way of putting an end to the struggle between the Ithakans? Is it realistic to believe that the suitors’ relatives simply dropped their weapons and went back home? What is the role of “realism” (that is, reflecting life as it is, or might be if it were to happen) in the ending?  Should we care? What is important about the ending of an epic?



Question 6

Use the Greek definitions of tragedy or comedy to make an argument about whether you think The Odyssey could be a considered a comedy or a tragedy.  Bring in specific details to make your case.  Think about the complexity here in terms of which side of the fence you are putting Odysseus on. There are certainly tragic elements to what Odysseus and his family suffers, as well as the many others.

Classical tragedy – elements include a tragic hero who is of higher than ordinary moral worth. Such a man is exhibited as suffering a change in fortune from happiness to misery because of a mistaken act, to which he is led by “an error in judgement” or his tragic flaw. Most often the

mistaken act ultimately leads to the hero’s death. We feel pity for the tragic hero because he is not an evil man, so his misfortune is greater than he deserves. There is also a sense that the hero could have been more if not for his tragic flaw. Comic elements may be present in a classical tragedy.

Classical comedy –comedies of this variety represent a serious action which threatened a tragic disaster to the protagonist, who resembles in most ways a tragic hero, yet by an abrupt reversal of circumstances, the story ends happily.  Comedies usually also have elements of the supernatural, typically magic and, for the Ancient Greeks, the gods. Comedy includes the unrealistic in order to portray the realistic. For the Greeks, all comedies ended happily which is opposite of tragedy, which ends sadly.



This Week’s Journal Format: Notice & Focus( this is over the odyssey pt 2)

Please show all work in your journal.

STEP 1: Find a passage about 10-12 sentences long that you do not fully understand but also grabs your attention.  Carefully read and reread this selection before getting started.

STEP 2: Ask yourself, “What do you notice?” Write down a list of at least five textual features from the passage that you notice.  You do not have to explain or fully understand these features.

STEP 3: Ask yourself, “What do you find strange or confusing?” Write down a list of at least three textual features from the passage that you notice.  What makes each strange/confusing and why?

STEP 4: Rank, in order, the features from steps 2 and 3 that from most interesting to least interesting.

Step 5: Pick the top three items in your list for you to work on in your journal.  As you start to write, ask yourself, “Why is this interesting?” and “So what?” Start with one, then on another until you have 600-700 words.