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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


by Homer

The Odyssey Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. In a world governed by the gods, is there any room for human will? Do human choices make a difference?
  2. What kind of religion do the characters in The Odyssey seem to have? How do they feel about the gods? What roles do the gods play in their lives?
  3. What does justice mean for the people in The Odyssey? Are revenge and retribution the only options, or do they seem to be working on a different kind of justice?
  4. The people in The Odyssey have no problem boasting, but they also warn against excessive pride. What's the difference? When is it okay to talk big, and when do you need to be little more humble?
  5. Odysseus often gets called "tricky" or "wily." Is this a compliment? An insult? Are there any times when deception is punished?
  6. The world of The Odyssey is all about tradition and custom. Do we see any instances of innovation? How do you think Odysseus would feel about the Internet?
  7. What kinds of roles do women play in the Odyssey? Which women (or goddesses) hold the most power and why?
  8. What's up with the structure of The Odyssey? What is the effect of Homer starting in media res (in the middle of things)?
  9. Is it possible for a modern reader to accept Odysseus's killing of the suitors? If not, how does this change in values affect our enjoyment of Homer's poem?
  10. What makes The Odyssey timeless? What's so appealing that it's resulted in dozens and dozens of spin-offs?

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