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By using this lesson plan, teachers and professors will be able to guide students through The Odyssey by Homer. This lesson plan will help you explore the motivations of Homer's gods, goddesses, and mortals as well as the work's primary themes, including heroism, love, and loyalty. Examples of guided discussion and study questions from this lesson plan include the following:
- What is the purpose of the first ten lines of The Odyssey? The first ten lines of the poem are an invocation to the muse of epic poetry. Homer pretends that the muse is speaking through him, and asks that his memory remain accurate.
- What does Athena do during a meeting on Mount Olympus? During Poseidon's absence, she asks Zeus to let Odysseus return home. She suggests that Hermes be sent to tell Kalypso to release Odysseus. She will go to Ithaka and talk to Odysseus' son, Telemakhos, and tell him where to go to find out information about his father. Zeus agrees.
- How has Penelope managed to hold off the suitors' demands for the past four years? She appeals to them to let her finish a death shroud for Laertes, father of Odysseus, so that when he dies she can properly bind him as is her duty (since his wife is dead). She weaves the shroud by day and then unweaves it at night to prolong having to answer to the suitors. They have been told of her deceit, and are angry at her refusal to choose a husband.
- Where is Athena during this part of the story? She has accompanied Telemakhos on his journey, in the disguise of Mentor. When Telemakhos makes preparations to spend the night in Nestor's palace, she changes to a vulture and flies away. Nestor interprets this as a sign of her favor for Telemakhos, and prepares a sacrificial offering to her.
- What happens to Odysseus at the end of Book V of The Odyssey? The ocean currents take him to the mouth of a river. He swims up the river and lands safely on the shore. Odysseus tosses Ino's veil back into the sea, makes a bed of leaves, and falls asleep.
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