1. The Telemachus subplot is a traditional
coming-of-age story. What standard elements does this subplot share
with other coming-of-age stories? Why and in what way does the prince
2. Consider two of the following as
symbols — Odysseus’ great bow, the shroud that Penelope weaves for
Laertes, the island of Ithaca, or the sea itself — and explain their
significance in the story.
3. How does the theme of vengeance work in
the epic? Approach it from the points of view of Telemachus and
Poseidon, as well as Odysseus.
4. Who is your favorite female character and why? Consider immortals as well as mortals.
5. A major theme in The Odyssey is
reciprocity: people getting what they deserve. Explain how this theme
affects the main characters: Odysseus, Penelope, Antinous, Telemachus.
6. The Odyssey contains certain
literary devices common to primary epics. List these devices and explain
their purpose. If you could change one of Homer’s techniques in telling
the story, what would it be? Why?
7. As an epic hero, Odysseus possesses
many exemplary qualities. List and explain how they benefit him. What
are his less admirable characteristics and how do these qualities cause
8. Compare and contrast the society of the
Phaeacians with the lifestyle of the Cyclops and explain how these two
societies represent the theme of hospitality. Then discuss the
significance of hospitality to Homeric Greeks.