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Introduction to The Odyssey
A few terms…
• Epic—a long narrative poem presenting the
adventures of gods or larger-than-life heroes
• Epic hero—figure of great stature; from
history or legend; possesses the character
traits that are most valued by society
• Archetype—the original pattern or model of
which all things of the same type are
representations or copies; a perfect example
• Hero—the courageous figure, the one who's always running in
and saving the day
• Anti-hero—represents everything opposite of the hero; the
deceitful figure that seeks to cause troubles; ulterior motives
• Temptress—represents highly refined skills at manipulating men
without investing personal emotion
• Devil—represents temptation, persuasion, and regret
• Scapegoat—the one who gets blamed for everything, regardless of
whether he or she is actually at fault
• Outcast—he or she has been cast out of society or has left it on a
voluntary basis
• Wise fool—the one who signifies the trials and tribulations of
happiness and joy, which ensures the character to be challenged
Heroic Cycle
Heroic Cycle…again
• Let’s simplify!
• Odysseus’
Cycle Explained…
• First there is the call to adventure, with the possibility of
a helper (think of Luke Skywalker called by R2D2, and
assisted by Obi Wan Kenobi and the robots).
• Second there is the crossing, with tests and more helpers
(the death of Luke's aunt and uncle, and the appearance
of more helpers - Hans Solo and Chewbacca).
• Third there is the supreme ordeal (Luke's confrontation
with his father, Darth Vader).
• Fourth there is the return, with a possible boon to the
hero's people (Luke destroys the Death Star, the rebel
alliance is saved).
A Little Greek Mythology!
• A few immortals and monsters Odysseus encounters:
– Calypso—the queenly Nymph and lover of Odysseus
– Lotus eaters—A group of people who existed in a state of
languorous forgetfulness induced by eating the fruit of the lotus
– Cyclopes—the one eyed sons of Gaia (Earth)
– Sirens—the Sirens lure mariners with their seductive singing to
the rocky shore and the heedless sailors die in their wrecked
– Charybdis—would alternately suck down the waters into her
maw and then spew them out causing gigantic waves
– Scylla—a creature with twelve dangling feet, six long necks and
grisly heads lined with a triple row of sharp teeth. Her voice was
likened to the yelping of dogs
• Calypso and Odysseus
• Charybdis
• Scylla
A Little Greek Mythology Cont’d
• A couple of the gods
– ZEUS was the supreme
god of the Olympians
– POSEIDON was the god
of the sea, earthquakes
and horses