Week 4: Mythology as Story Telling II
Homer, Odysssy, books 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 [scroll down to links to individual books]
read book-by-book summaries of books 1-7 and 13-24
Theokritos, Idyll 11
Odyssey study questions:
1. How is the mythology in the Odyssey the same as that in the the Iliad? How is it different?
2. To the degree that the Odyssey’s mythology is different, what effect does this difference have on the poem?
3. How “real” are the various creatures Odysseus encounters? Should they be understood as anything more than the fruit of the author’s imagination? How can you tell?
4. Compare these creatures with those found in Hesiod’s Theogony. How are they the same? How are they different?
5. How are the ways the author uses mythology different in the two poems? What effect does this different usage have on the two poems?
6. Many scholars believe that the Iliad and Odyssey are based on shorter songs sung in settings much like the banquet in Alkinoos’ palace. What would you imagine such performances were like? What can these scenes of performance tell us about both the authors’ and their audiences’ approach to mythology and legend?
7. What do you make of Theokritos’ Idyll 11?