55 Unique Odyssey Essay Topics & Research Paper Titles

Essay Topics

If you have been tasked to write for The Odyssey, you have probably begun noting down ideas. This epic poem, just like many other Ancient Greek works, is bursting with content. We understand that it can be tricky to organize the process when the possibilities are endless.

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This is precisely why here we have compiled a list of The Odyssey’s essay topics and research paper ideas. You will find all possible suggestions – from writing about characters to comparing the epic to other works. Feel free to browse through our collection to write a fantastic The Odyssey essay.

⛵ Odyssey Essay Topics on Themes

  1. A comparison of the themes of kleos and nostos in The Odyssey.
  2. The importance of loyalty throughout Homer’s Odyssey.
  3. How is cunning the most celebrated quality in The Odyssey?
  4. What are the parallels between loyalty to Odysseus and loyalty to the gods in The Odyssey?
  5. Homer’s commentary on hubris through his criticism of kleos in The Odyssey.
  6. The impact of perseverance on Odysseus’ journey.
  7. Why is the theme of disguise so prevalent throughout Homer’s Odyssey?

🧑🏿‍🤝‍🧑🏽 The Odyssey Essay Topics on Characters

  1. Athena and Poseidon – what was the gods’ influence on Odysseus’ journey?
  2. Was Odysseus’ revenge on the suitors justified?
  3. Examining the role of the servants in The Odyssey.
  4. ‘Man of twists and turns’ – an analysis of Odysseus as a morally gray character.
  5. A study of the antagonists in The Odyssey: what differentiates friend from foe.
  6. Penelope’s character in The Odyssey – how Odysseus’ wife is different from other women in the epic.
  7. An examination of the family relationships in The Odyssey.

✒️ Literary Analysis of The Odyssey: Essay Topics

  1. Why are Homeric similes in The Odyssey effective?
  2. The role of metaphors in The Odyssey and how Homer used them.
  3. The uses of irony throughout The Odyssey’s books.
  4. Dactylic hexameter as one of the most significant literary devices in The Odyssey.
  5. The role of allusions to The Iliad in The Odyssey.
  6. An examination of the narrator in The Odyssey and its relation to the oral tradition.
  7. Symbols in The Odyssey – an analysis of the most common motifs appearing in the epic.
  8. The language of Homeric epic poems: its iterations in The Odyssey.
  9. How different translations of The Odyssey change our perspective on the subject matter of the epic.

🆚 The Odyssey & Other Stories: Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. The contrasting themes of The Iliad and The Odyssey.
  2. In what ways did James Joyce’s Ulysses draw inspiration from The Odyssey?
  3. Contrasting depictions of heroism between Beowulf and Odysseus.
  4. What can we learn about the Ancient Greek gods through The Odyssey and Theogony?
  5. A literary analysis of the Homeric Hymns and The Odyssey: do they really have a different author?

📚 The Odyssey Research Paper Titles

Describe the most notable women in the epic. How do they aid/deter Odysseus’ journey? Analyze their purpose in the story. What does Homer’s portrayal of femininity tell us about the treatment of women in Ancient Greece?

  1. Exploring the ideas of loyalty through Odysseus’ crew.

Mention what we know about Odysseus’ crew and how he leads them. Analyze the incidents with Circe, Elpenor’s death and burial Talk about the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, and the Cyclops. Why does Odysseus’ crew stop listening to him? How are they punished for it?

  1. How does Homer celebrate nostos in The Odyssey?

What is nostos? How is it portrayed in The Odyssey? Explain why coming home is the most important thing to Odysseus. Reflect on his encounter with Achilles in the Underworld. What is Homer trying to teach us with that brief scene?

  1. The relationship between Odysseus and Athena in The Odyssey.

Describe both characters separately. Why does Athena aid Odysseus? In what ways does Odysseus repay the goddess for her assistance? Summarize the importance of being favorable to the gods.

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  1. The difference in portrayals of violence in The Odyssey.

Examine what role violence plays in Ancient Greek culture – i.e., Athena is the goddess of war. Mention violent incidents with monsters such as the Cyclops and Laestrygones. Analyze the slaughter of the suitors and the torture of the unfaithful servants. What is the difference between Odysseus’ violence and the violence done to him?

Look at the relationships between Telemachus and Odysseus, Polyphemus and Poseidon, Odysseus and Laertes, Orestes and Agamemnon. What are the responsibilities of the father in each of these cases? What are the sons’ responsibilities? How are father-son relationships characterized in the epic?

  1. What stands in the way of Odysseus’ return home?

Examine all of the trials that Odysseus had to go through. Why is it that the sea is never on his side? What obstacles keep extending his journey? Mention Poseidon and Polyphemus, Circe, Aeolus, and Helios, and their impact on Odysseus.

  1. How does hospitality in The Odyssey differentiate monster from man?

Explain the importance of xenia in Ancient Greece. Provide good examples of hospitality from the epic, such as those of Telemachus and Penelope, kings Mentes and Nestor, and Circe. Contrast them against the bad instances, such as the Cyclops and the suitors. What does hospitality tell us about a person’s character?

  1. Homer’s representation of justice in The Odyssey.

What lesson is Homer trying to teach his audience about justice and gods? Analyze Odysseus’ struggle against the suitors and the omens around it. Explore the incident with Poseidon and the Phaecians and the role of divine prophecy. How are we to understand what is just in The Odyssey’s world?

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  1. The Odyssey: a subversion of the hero’s journey.

How are the events of The Odyssey different from a typical epic poem? How are they similar? Analyze Odysseus’ character and the changes he goes through. Examine the idea of returning home rather than leaving to set out on an adventure. Thanks for reading! If you haven’t found what to write about, use our topic generator and get more original ideas. For more information about The Odyssey, check the links below.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Essay Topics." October 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/the-odyssey/essay-topics/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Essay Topics'. 9 October.