The Odyssey: My Journey Home


I.                    Sailing from Troy:

A.    Alcinous offers a ship to Odysseus for a story

B.     “where shall a man find sweetness to surpass…” (35-37)

C.    Tale of Cicones

                                                               i.      Fought the men of the island

                                                             ii.      Captured women and flocks of sheep

                                                            iii.      I told my men to get back on ships

                                                           iv.      They were mutinous “fools on stores of wine” (47-8)

                                                             v.      Cicones came back in full force

                                                           vi.      We fought as best we could

                                                          vii.      “Six benches were left empty in every ship” (63)


II.                 The Lotus-Eaters:

A.    Had to face serious storms

B.     Lasted two days and nights

C.    Came upon land of Lotus-Eaters

D.    I sent three men out to explore

                                                               i.      Those who ate lotus “never cared to report, nor to return” (98)

                                                             ii.      Drove men back to the ship

                                                            iii.      Tied the three to their benches

                                                           iv.      We moved on


III.               The Cyclops:

A.    Found land of Cyclops—giant one-eyed men

B.     They do not have any sense of community—savages

C.    Live alone

D.    Took 12 men with me

E.     Men and I explored his cave

F.     Cyclops returns—eats two men—we’re locked in the cave

                                                               i.      I almost kill, but realized we’d die in here

                                                             ii.      Polyphemus eats two more men for B’fast

                                                            iii.      Polyphemus takes his flock outside

                                                           iv.      Trick Polyphemus by giving him wine & tell him my name is “Nohbdy”

                                                             v.      He falls asleep and I stab his eye out with spear

                                                           vi.      His fellow Cyclops come and ask him what’s wrong—her responds “Nohbdy’s tricked me, Nohbdy’s ruined me!” (358)

                                                          vii.      I tie my men to the bottom of the male rams and we escape

G.    I yell at Polyphemus as we sail away: “Odysseus…took your eye” (459)

H.    Polyphemus asks Poseidon to curse me


IV.              The Land of the Dead:

A.    Circe (men into pigs) tells me I must go to Land of Dead to get home

B.     Must consult Tiresias

C.    I made a pit & poured milk & honey into it

D.    Then poured lamb’s blood into the pit (the dead want the blood)

E.     We stood our ground, though scared, while waiting for Tiresias

F.     Elpenor comes first

                                                               i.      He died at Circe’s island

                                                             ii.      Got drunk and fell asleep on the roof

                                                            iii.      Broke his neck

                                                           iv.      Wamts me to return and give his body proper treatment

                                                             v.      I promise him I will

G.    Anticlea arrives (my mother)

H.    Tiresias arrives

                                                               i.      He warns me not to let my men eat the cattle of Helios

                                                             ii.      If we do, it means the destruction of my crew

                                                            iii.      I will have to try to get home alone and my journey will be long and difficult

                                                           iv.      He tells me of the battle I will have with suitors when I arrive home

V.                 The Sirens:

A.    I ask to be tied up to the mast

B.     I alone shall hear the sirens’ song (698)

C.    I put beeswax into the ears of my men

D.    I begged to be freed to go to the sirens, but my men tied me down harder


VI.              Scylla and Charbdis:

A.    I reminded my men of my wit and how it has saved us before (766)

B.     Charbdis: creature of the sea

                                                               i.      Spits water up like tornadoes

                                                             ii.      Pulls water down like whirlpools

C.    Scylla: creature of the sea

                                                               i.      Six-headed monster

                                                             ii.      Eats six men before we can escape


VII.            The Cattle of the Sun God:

A.    I told my men NOT to eat the cattle—we had plenty of food on ship

B.     As food ran out, I went on shore to procure some

C.    While I was gone, Euryolchus persuaded the men to butcher cattle

D.    I awake and realize what has happened

E.     Helios begs Zeus to punish my men (910)

F.     Zeus destroyed my ship and men with a thunderbolt

G.    I alone floated to the island of Phaeacia to tell the tale