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Analysis

Tough-O-Meter

We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(3) Base Camp

For the first-time reader, probably the hardest thing about Homer's Odyssey is its language. (And we're not even asking you to read it in Ancient Greek.) If you're really struggling, you could check out some up-to-date translations by Robert Fagles and Stanley Lombardo; Lombardo's version is especially close to modern spoken English.

On Shmoop, we quote from the 1950s version by Richmond Lattimore. Yeah, it's a little harder, but we think it's worth it. Every line in Lattimore's version matches up exactly to its counterpart in the original Greek, so you get a good sense of what the original feels like. And once you get past all the unfamiliar gods and goddesses (maybe with the help of our handy-dandy "Minor Characters" list), the poem is super accessible. You'll get so swept up Odysseus's awesome adventures that we bet you won't even notice that you're reading a 3,000-year-old epic poem. You'll be hooked.

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