Study Guide

Canto I Perseverance

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It's easy to lose context when you read "Canto I." Still, it's important to remember that, by this point in Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew have just fought a war that took years to finish. They've killed a bunch of people and plenty of their friends have died. But they all want to get home, especially Odysseus, who has to go through all kinds of hardship to get where he's going. But hey, if The Odyssey is going to teach us anything, it should be perseverance.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. What does "Canto I" teach you about perseverance? What about Odysseus' story makes you feel like you can go out and overcome hardship? Any of it? None of it? Why?
  2. What exactly is the point of all this hardship Odysseus is supposed to overcome? What's it supposed to illustrate? Is it just hardship for its own sake?
  3. In your opinion, where does perseverance rank among the qualities a person should have? How might Odysseus answer that question? How would Pound answer it?

Chew on This

Basically, there's not really much to "Canto I," apart from Pound's efforts to show that Odysseus is way more perseverant than anyone you'll find nowadays. Go, Ody.

When you really think about it (and we always recommend that you do), Pound might be using "Canto I" to say that perseverance isn't always a good thing. If you just put your head down and keep moving forward, you might be perseverant, but not necessarily smart.

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