Homer Revision for the Odyssey: suggestions and questions         190

1. Odysseus the fighting man needs to learn social behaviour. Discuss with regard to his behaviour in a variety of social situations.

2. Choose several passages of

a) a speech

b)   a description.

c)      Study it carefully and write an 'appreciation' of it.

[NB: avoid the Cyclops story as rather overworked?]

3. Learn the main headings of each book, eg as Rieu and Lattimore set it out in the Contents, since ability to name the Book in which various events occur v. helpful.

4. Examine/write down/discuss Odysseus' relationships with women, including goddesses

5. Make sure you are familiar with the structure of the poem.

6. Sort out and make notes on the 'lying tales'. What is the purpose of them?

7. Do the same for the main actions of Odysseus + the main sequence of events in Books 13-23 which lead to the repossession of his home.

8. Choose your own examples for 'evidence of oral poetry', ie:

a)      some repetitions of epithets, whole lines (ie formulae)

b)      some repeated messages

c)      a list, eg genealogy

d)       repeated minor themes, eg sacrifice

e)      examples of singers and their songs

f)         short lays (stories).

NB: one precise example with its context = a lorry-load of vague generalisations.

9. Choose your own examples of various qualities of the poem and its style.

10. What are your criteria for a 'good story'?

Does the Odyssey fulfil these criteria? [with precise examples, of course]

J. Bosworth