Book XV: How Telemachus Sailed Back to Ithaca


Athena finds Telemachus at the mansion of Menelaos and instructs him to return home.  Odysseus learns from Eumaeus about his (Odysseus’) parents and how Eumeaus was bought by Laertes when he was a child.  Telemachus lands safely back on Ithaca and, by Athena’s instructions, goes straight to Eumaeus.

  1. How has Eumaeus proven his faithfulness in this and previously?
  2. Who do you think will be the first to recognize Odysseus through the beggar disguise?

Book XIV: Odysseus and the Swineherd


  1. What is the name of the swineherd?
  2. What does Odysseus tell the swineherd about himself?
  3. Describe Odysseus’s disguise.

Book XIII: How Odysseus Came to Ithaca

  1. Describe Odysseus’ journey from Scheria.
  2. What does Poseidon initially want to do the Phaeacian ship?
  3. What decision does Alcinoos make because of the wrath of Poseidon?
  4. Why and for how long does Athena want Odysseus to be in disguise?
  5. What does Athena instruct Odysseus to do now that he has returned to Ithaca?
  6. Whom does Athena instruct Odysseus to visit first?

Book XII: The singing Sirens and the terrors of Scylla and Charybdis


Odysseus tells of their return to Aiaia to bury Elpenor and of Circe’s warning of the dangers to come:  the Sirens, Scylla, Charybdis, and Helios’s cattle.  The men make it through the perils of the sea as predicted.  On land however, when they run out of provisions, they eat Helios’s cattle despite promises to Odysseus.  At sea all, except Odysseus, are killed as a punishment  He is left adrift for nine days before landing on the island of Oygygia, Calypso’s home.  Alcinoos and the other listeners are now up-to-date on the travels of Odysseus.

  1. Why should Odysseus be wary of the Sirens?  What should they do to keep safe from them?
  2. Describe Scylla.
  3. What will Charybdis do if Odysseus’ ship gets too close?
  4. What secret does Odysseus keep from his men?
  5. Describe the demise of Odysseus’s shipmates?  Is it his fault?

Book XI: How Odysseus visited the kingdom of the dead


Odysseus follows Circe’s instructions.  In Hades, he first sees a dead shipmate, Elpenor, then his mother, Anticleai, then Tiresias.  Tiresias tells him what will happen to him next, including a warning about the cattle of Helios and how to reconcile with Poseidon.  Next he talks with his mother and she answers many questions for him.  At this point, Odysseus tries to conclude his storytelling, but Alcinous begs him to continue.   He finishes by saying he met the souls of many who passed away, then he left Hades.

  1. What does Odyssesu do to call the souls fo the dead to him?
  2. Who is Tiresias?  Why does Odysseus want to talk to him?  What is his prediction?
  3. What should Odysseus do to the suitors at his house?
  4. Who is Odysseus’ mother? How did she die? Why can’t Odysseus hug her?

Book X: The Island of the Winds; the Land of the Midnight Sun; Circe


Odysseus tells of his visit to Aiolia, where Aiolos Hippotades, manager of the winds, helps Odysseus and his crew get home.  He puts wind in a bag that Odysseus carries on board his ship.  Unfortunately, his curious crew decides to open the bag, and the released winds drive them away from home.  The arrive at the land of the Laestrygonians, who eat most of Odysseus’s crew before his ship escapes.  Then they land on the island of Aiaia, the home of Circe.  She traps some more men and turns them into pigs.  Odysseus, with the help of Hermes, gets her to release his men and help him reach home.  She instructs him to visit Hades, where he will meet Tiresias, who will tell him how to get home.

  1. Who is the god of wind?  What favor does he do for Odysseus and his men?  Why?
  2. What is the mistake of some of the crew?  What happens?  How do even more men die after the “bag incident”?
  3. What does Circe do to some of Odysseus men?  How does he get her to release them?
  4. What final instructions does Circe give Odysseus?

Book IX: How Odysseus visited the Lotus-Eaters and the Cyclops


Odysseus tells Alcinous who he is and what things have happened to him sine he left Troy.  He tells of his adventures in Ismarus, in the land of the Lotus-Eaters, and the in the land of the Cyclopes.  He describes the Cyclopedias as “violent and lawless”, they have some trouble with one – men are killed and Poseidon’s vendetta against Odysseus begins.

  1. What was the effect of the Lotus plant?
  2. How heavy is the door of the Cyclops’ cave?  What is the first villainous thing the Cyclops does?
  3. Why doesn’t Odysseus kill the Cyclops when he has the chance?
  4. What name does Odysseus give the Cyclops?  How does this work as a good “trick”?
  5. How so they manage to get out of the cave?
  6. What foolish thing does Odysseus do?  What does this say about his character and his long exile?
  7. What did the soothsayer predict to the Cyclops?
  8. What does the Cyclop ask his father to do?

Book VIII: How they held games and sports in Phaiacia


The next day Alcinoos sends the boys of the town to construct a ship for Odysseus’ voyage and gathers the men for a day of entertainment.  Demodocos sings of famous men, including Odysseus.  When Alcinoos sees Odysseus crying during the minstrel’s story, he commences the games and dancing to keep his guest happy.  At dinner, Odysseus again weeps when Demodocos sings about the Trojan War.  At this point, Alcinoos finally demands to know the identity of his guest.

  1. Describe the activities that King Alcinoos arranges to entertain Odysseus.
  2. Who is Demodocos?
  3. How is King Alcinoos helpign Odysseus to get home?
  4. What is Odysseus’s reaction whenever Demodocos sings about the Trojan War?  Why do you think he does that?

Book VII: what happened to Odysseus in the Palace of Alcinoos


Odysseus arrives at the palace of Alcinoos and Arete.  He begs for their help in getting home.  They feed him, ask about his situation, and agree to give him the help he needs.

  1. What craft are the Phaiacians best known for?
  2. How is Odysseus treated as a guest?