Odyssey Chapter Questions -- to focus your reading

Odyssey Chapter Questions…


The Odyssey: Book 1 Questions

  1. Who is the subject of this poem: man or god? What then could the poem’s purpose be?
  2. Where is Odysseus prisoner? Who keeps him there? Who really keeps him there?
  3. Who speaks on behalf of Odysseus? What do the gods decide to do?
  4. How are the suitors described? Why might Homer want to do this?
  5. How does Athena's question about Telemakhos’ father relate to the Hero’s Journey?
  6. What instructions does Athena leave? What else does she give him?
  7. What sort of change do we see in Telemakhos?
The Odyssey: Book 5 Questions

  1. What is Kalypso doing when we first see her?
  2. What is our first view of Odysseus?
  3. What is Kalypso willing to do regarding Odysseus' leaving?
  4. What causes Odysseus to lose the raft?
  5. What does Ino give Odysseus to save himself? What happens to Ino's scarf?
  6. With what image does the book end?
The Odyssey, Book 8 (pp. 136-138): Questions

  1. What song does Odysseus have Demódokos sing about Troy?
  2. Why does Alkínoös have Demódokos stop singing?
  3. What foreshadowing does Alkínoös give about how Phaiákia will be punished for helping a stranger get home?
What is Alkínoös asking for at the end of the book

The Odyssey, Book 9: Questions

  1. How do Odysseus and his men treat the Kikones?
  2. What effect does the lotus (Lotos) have on anyone who tastes it?
  3. What was unusual about the island that lies near the island of the Kyklopês (Cyclopes)?
  4. What is the occupation of the Kyklops (Cyclops)?
  5. What does Odysseus take with him when they go to investigate the Kyklops' cave?
  6. How many men does the Kyklops eat each time he eats?
  7. Why doesn't Odysseus just kill the Kyklops?
  8. How does Odysseus trick the Kyklops with his name?
  9. How is Odysseus able to blind the Kyklops?
  10. What boastful act does Odysseus do which sets up his suffering later?



The Odyssey, Book 10: Questions

  1. What gift does Aiolus give Odysseus?
  2. Why does Aiolos refuse to help Odysseus a second time?
  3. In what ways are the Laistrygonês like the Kyklopês?
  4. What happens to Odysseus' fleet?
  5. What was unusual about the wolves and lions around Kirkê's residence?
  6. Who is Eurylokhos?
  7. What happens to all but one of Odysseus' men in the first platoon?
  8. What is molü [moly] and how does Odysseus learn about it?
  9. How does Kirkê know who Odysseus is?
  10. What promise does Odysseus make Kirkê give before going to bed with her?
  11. How long does Odysseus stay with Kirkê?
  12. Who is Elpenor?
  13. Who prompts Odysseus to finally leave?
  14. Where does Kirkê tell Odysseus he has to travel before he can head home?
The Odyssey, Book 11: Questions

  1. What does Odysseus have to do which allows the dead to recognize and speak to him?
  2. What does Elpenor ask Odysseus to put on top of his grave?
  3. What act of penance does Odysseus have to do after he deals with the suitors?
  4. How did Odysseus' mother die?
  5. Why can't Odysseus embrace his mother?
  6. How does Homer remind us we are hearing a story told to the people of Phaiákia?
  7. What view of women does Agamemnon's story suggest?
  8. What does Akhilleus (Achilles) ask Odysseus about?
  9. Who is the Trojan hero who refuses to speak to Odysseus?
  10. Part of our understanding of Hades comes from the views of Minos, Tantalos, and Sisyphos. Who were they and what were their punishments?
Who is the last great hero that Odysseus sees before leaving


The Odyssey, Book 12: Questions

  1. What does Odysseus do when he returns to Aiaia?
  2. What advice does Kirkê give Odysseus regarding Skylla and Kharybdis?
  3. What does Odysseus use for his men and for himself to escape the lure of the sierenes?
  4. Does Odysseus warn his men about all the dangers that lay in their path?  Explain.
  5. How many men does he lose to Skylla?
  6. Why are Odysseus' men starving on the island of the sun god?
  7. How is Eurylokhos responsible for the death of Odysseus' crew?
  8. Which god asks for the men to be killed?
  9. Which god sends the storm and wrecks his ship?
  10. How does Odysseus save himself?
  11. Where does the story of Odysseus' journey end?
The Odyssey, Book 15 (lines 1-59) and Book 16: Questions


  1. Where does Athena tell Telemakhos to go?  What warnings does she give him?
  2. How do the guard dogs treat Telémakhos when he arrives at Eumaios' house?
  3. Describe the relationship between Eumaios and Telémakhos.
  4. What message is Eumaios sent off to deliver?
  5. When Athena appears, what form does she take and what does she do?
  6. Does Telémakhos immediately believe that Odysseus is who he says he is? Explain.
  7. How does Homer describe Odysseus' and Telémakhos' crying?
  8. How many suitors and servants does Telémakhos say there are?
  9. What plan does Odysseus give Telémakhos regarding the arms and armor?
  10. What proposal does Antínoös make regarding Telémakhos?
  11. What is Amphínomos' viewpoint?
  12. What does Penélopê do in response to the plotting?
  13. Which suitor lies to Penélopê about his intent regarding her son?
The Odyssey, Book 17: Questions

  1. What does Telémakhos tell Eumaios to do for Odysseus?
  2. How does Telémakhos treat his mother when she comes to greet him?
  3. What prophecy does Theoklymenos make to Penélopê regarding Odysseus?
  4. What stupid thing does Melánthios do as he passes Odysseus?
  5. How does Odysseus say he recognizes Odysseus' palace?
  6. Identify Argos and describe what happens with him.
  7. What advise does Telémakhos tell Eumaois to give Odysseus?
  8. What kind of gifts do the suitors give Odysseus?
  9. What stupid thing does Antínoös do to Odysseus?
  10. What is Odysseus curse of Antínoös?
  11. Why does Penélopê want to meet the beggar
The Odyssey, Book 21: Questions

  1. What contest does Athena inspire Penélopê to propose?
  2. What is so special about Odysseus' bow?
  3. What prize does Penélopê propose for the contest?
  4. Who sets up the axes?
  5. Who is the first person to try to string the bow? Does he succeed?
  6. Identify Leodes.
  7. What does Melanthios bring to try to help the suitors string the bow?
  8. How does Odysseus prove to Eumaios and Philoetius that he is their master?
  9. How are the men convinced to let Odysseus try to string the bow?
  10. Why does Penélopê leave the contest? What does she do?
  11. What sign does Zeus send when the bow is strung?
  12. How does the book end?


The Odyssey, Book 22: Questions

  1. Who is the first suitor killed? How is he killed?
  2. How does Eurymakhos try to save them all? How is he killed?
  3. How is Amphinomos killed?
  4. What equipment does Telemakhos fetch to help them?
  5. How does Melanthios betray his master? What do the two servants do to punish him?
  6. Who does Athena come disguised as?
  7. How do the suitors realize it is actually Athena?
  8. What does Leodes do to save himself? Does it work?
  9. Only two men’s lives are spared. Who are they?  Why are they spared?
  10. What job are the dozen unfaithful servants given?  What happens to the dozen servants?
  11. What is the fate of Melanthios?
  12. How does Odysseus purify the palace?
The Odyssey, Book 23: Questions

  1. What does Odysseus do to purify the house?
  2. How does Penélopê act when she goes to meet Odysseus?
  3. What does Odysseus ask Phemius to do?
  4. How does Athena change Odysseus?
  5. What does Penélopê ask Eurycleia to do which angers Odysseus?
  6. What is the secret of the bed that Odysseus reveals?
  7. What does Athena do to make the reunion of Odysseus and Penélopê special?
  8. What prophecy about his death does Odysseus tell Penélopê?
  9. How do Odysseus and Penélopê end their evening?
  10. What instructions does Odysseus give Penélopê in the morning?
  11. Where does Odysseus go and who goes with him?