How is Odysseus an epic hero? What is the role of gods in The Odyssey? The epic raises numerous questions that students can find intriguing or important to answer. Thankfully, we can help with that.
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In this article, we’ve gathered the most pressing The Odyssey questions and short answers. To see the full version of each explanation, click on the respective link.
❓ The Odyssey Q&A
Conflicts in The Odyssey can be divided into three main categories — man vs. gods/nature, man vs. society, and man vs. self. There are a few instances of each type of conflict in the poem. Most notable are Odysseus vs. Poseidon, Odysseus and Telemachus vs. Penelope’s suitors, and Odysseus vs. his pride.
The suitors in The Odyssey are men who want to marry the “widowed” Penelope. They never succeed. In the end, they are killed by Odysseus for squandering his wealth and harassing Penelope.
In contrast to The Iliad, the second work of Homer, The Odyssey, contains many allusions. They are mostly related to ancient methodology. In particular, allusions include the story of the bow, Odysseus’s mother and other characters in the Underworld, the Quest for the Golden Fleece, and “sovereign Death and pale Persephone.”
Tiresias is a character from Homer’s Odyssey. He is also well-known for Sophocles’ Antigone and Oedipus the King, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In Homer’s epic poem, the protagonist meets Tiresias in the underworld. The latter predicted a safe return for the hero and provided him with advice on the way.
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In The Odyssey, a hundred and eight suitors assured that Odysseus would not return home. The suitors were captivated by the charm and intellect of Odysseus’ wife, Penelope. Therefore, they have taken over the household of the king.
Phemius is a bard of Ithaca. He sings a sad song about the Trojan War to the suitors of Penelope. The role of Phemius in Homer’s Odyssey is to show the importance of oral storytelling and bards’ craft in the lives of Ancient Greeks.
First, what actors tend to memorize are the supernatural elements in the play and its poetic language. It makes the process easier. Next, they try to catch the rhyme, rhythm, and repetition of certain words. Besides, The Odyssey is created in dactylic hexameter. This creative style sometimes helped performers improvise.
Throughout Homer’s epic, Mentor largely assists Odysseus in all his struggles. When Odysseus departs for the Trojan War, he leaves Mentor to teach and oversee his son Telemachus. He protects Penelope against all her suitors. Then, he helps Odysseus conquer them after returning to Ithaca.
Odysseus is a dynamic character who learns how to be patient and humble throughout his journey. However, after returning to Ithaca, the transformation into an old man is when he truly learns patience and humility. Pretending to be a man of humble origins, he sees the world from a new perspective.
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The Odyssey is one of the most outstanding epic poems written by the ancient Greek poet Homer. It shows several essential values that people appreciated in ancient Greece. Greek values that are present in The Odyssey are loyalty, hospitality, self-control, and family.
Similar to his mythological role, Hermes serves as a messenger in The Odyssey. In the myths, he is portrayed as a protector of travelers, thieves, merchants, and heralds. In the official representations, he has winged shoes and can fly because of them.
The phrase that best shows how cunning Odysseus was must be the following: “My name is Nobody: mother, father, and friends, everyone calls me Nobody.” The idea is that the main character of the play conflicts with Cyclops. Odysseus tricks his enemy with a false name.
Epic poetry is described as lengthy tale poems. They recollect prior events and achievements of remarkable people. The Odyssey is considered to be an epic poem as it highlights culturally relevant events in ancient Greece’s history.
Odysseus is a dynamic character because he constantly changes throughout the Odyssey. The hero’s character changes as he encounters difficult situations and unpleasant events. Odysseus’ personality, identity, and social status develop and evolve throughout the story.
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The Odyssey and The Iliad are known for the courage and intelligence proclamation in a warrior. These are the best qualities that shape him as a man. It glorifies honor as the most significant asset a person can ever have.
In The Odyssey – Amphimedon, the desire to avenge the suitors motivated Odysseus to dress like a beggar. Odysseus’ disguise allows him to find out people’s true attitudes toward him. It protects him from being killed by his enemies.
Odysseus has been away from home for twenty years. A man spent ten years fighting in the Trojan war, helping the Greeks. After the fall of Troy, it took him ten years to come back home to his family. The journey included Poseidon’s shipwreck and seven-year imprisonment by Calypso.
“I learned to keep my head in hardship – years of war and years at sea. Let this new trial come” is the excerpt that demonstrates the significance of perseverance for Greek people.
Odysseus has many strengths and weaknesses. During his journey home, he shows himself as a courageous, smart, and confident leader. But, he has flaws. His arrogance, pride, quick temper, and stubbornness often lead him to dangerous situations.
In The Odyssey, Athena is Odysseus’ patroness, who helps him to solve various difficulties. She advised him to see his wife and told him about suitors trying to steal her. When Odysseus arrived at Ithaca, he was in danger of attacking. To prevent that, she turned him into a beggar.
The hero of Homer’s poems, Odysseus, is the Ithaca king. Odysseus possesses most of the general qualities of an epic hero. He is a noble, courageous, smart warrior and a traveler. He faces mighty and unnatural enemies on a dangerous adventure.
Irus or Arnaeus is a character from the Odyssey. One of his primary functions in the text is transmitting messages for Penelope’s suitors. Odysseus returns home from his twenty years of wanderings. He dresses as a beggar, and it infuriates Irus as he perceives disguised Odysseus as a threat.
Odysseus swore an oath to protect Helen of Troy and her family at all costs. It made him leave Ithaca and go to the Trojan War.
After raiding the island of Cicones on their way back to Ithaca, Odysseus’s men indulged in a lavish celebration of their victory. Odysseus saw his crew being consumed by greed and losing sight of their ultimate goal of returning home. He convinced his team to run for the ships just as the Cicones began to fight back in full force.
Cyclops Polyphemus pleaded with Odysseus to return to the island. At first glance, because he wanted to befriend him and wished him only well. However, Polyphemus wanted to deceive Odysseus to avenge his pierced eye. He would tell him about the ancient prophecy that, according to him, came true.
In The Odyssey, Odysseus follows Circe’s advice to seek out Teiresias. He travels to Hades to speak with the prophet’s ghost and learn how he can return home. The blind seer warns the hero about the perils he will have to avoid.
In Homer’s poem, Calypso is a nymph. She kept Odysseus imprisoned on the island of Ogygia for seven years. The goddess symbolizes temptation. Calypso offers Odysseus immortality if he stays on the island with her. She helps reveal Odysseus’s significant character traits, such as will and resistance.
When Odysseus returns home, he massacres the suitors trying to marry his wife in his absence. He sees the murder as the only possible way to regain control over Ithaka. The slaughter is justified by law and gods, with Athena joining the battle to support Odysseus.
Telemachus’ murder of the maids and the goatherd Melanthius can be explained. These people showed a scornful attitude and betrayed Odysseus. His son mocked the victims just as ironically as the Gods did to his father.
Odysseus looks for his way back home from the Trojan War. Circe, the daughter of Apollo, advises the hero to find the soothsayer Tiresias to get the directions from her. However, Homer sends Odysseus to the underworld for the epic to show us his heroic journey.
Before he reached home, Odysseus had to avoid the disastrous effect of the Lotus plant. Thus, he had to flee the Lotus-eaters, fight with Sirens, and confront Charybdis and Scylla.
Calypso is a nymph that captures Odysseus for seven years. They live on the magical island of Ogygia before Odysseus manages to escape. When Odysseus lands on Ogygia during his travels, Calypso falls in love with him and enchants him with her captivating singing.
He grabbed the branch of a fig tree that grew above the whirlpool and hung there until Charybdis began to spew water. Together with water came the mast of the ship, clinging to which Odysseus managed to swim further.
Tiresias is a famous blind seer of Apollo. He gives a prophecy to Odysseus about his further journey and its end. The seer says that Odysseus’ voyage home will be full of difficulties and hardships. He warns him about the grazing herds of Helios on Thrinakia. He mentions arrogant men eating his food and courting his wife, and sacrifice to Poseidon.
The Olympic god Poseidon is one of the many foes of Odysseus. His hatred for the epic hero began after the famous Greek blinded Poseidon’s son, Polyphemus. His son’s humiliation prompted the god of the sea to use his powers to prevent the hero from returning home to Ithaca.
Odysseus tricked Polyphemus into drinking his wine. As soon as Polyphemus got drunk, he collapsed on the ground. That is when Odysseus, with a couple of his men, injured cyclopes by stinging his eye with glowing staff.
Odysseus knew that the boulder that blocks the way out of the cave was too massive for him and his team to move by themselves.
Polyphemus is angry with Odysseus, who tricks and blinds the Cyclops to escape captivity. When fleeing the giant, the hero mocks him. Then, he reveals his name to the enraged Cyclops. This humiliation prompts Polyphemus to ask Poseidon to avenge him and make the Greek’s way home more dangerous.
Antinous wants to get rid of suitors. He suggests Telemachus kills the suitors. His aim is not to relieve the family from the issues suitors make. Instead, he wants to eliminate the competition.
Melantho is not a well-known character in the poem. She is Penelope’s maid and the sister of Melanthius in The Odyssey. In the poem, Melantho betrays Penelope. She appears to be more loyal to the suitors. The maid is sharp-tongued and ungrateful in her actions towards the queen.
The Cyclops is a one-eyed mythological creature in Homer’s Odyssey. He is an uncivilized, brutal, and rude giant living in a cave. The Cyclops does not adhere to any rules or traditions to which the Greeks are accustomed. He represents a creature with a primitive mindset and barbaric habits.
Several excerpts prove the high value the ancient Greeks attributed to the idea of home in The Odyssey. The excerpt that best shows the sentiment is the following: “…[G]o on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home.” (The Odyssey, Book 9).
Hospitality is the most popular topic the author alludes to in The Odyssey. The reception’s importance is present in several lines throughout the poem, but the most vivid example is identified in part 3 of the narrative.
Odysseus is a legendary figure who experienced many threats throughout his life. The scar on his leg is a result of his encounter with a wild boar. Odysseus was on a hunt with Autolycus when he got injured.
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