Reading The Odyssey (page 2)

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“Polyphemus the Cyclops”- If you are captured by a Cyclops who eats several of your men, and you have the incredible luck to escape by blinding his one eye, resist the urge to shout out your name as you are fleeing. The Cyclops may turn out to be the son of a very important deity, who will consequently be very put out.

“Aeolus, the Old Wind Bag” – If the keeper of the winds gives you a bag of winds to help you in your journey home, do not keep the contents of it a secret. Your men will surely open it just when you are in spitting distance of home thus blowing you thousand of miles away.

“The Laestrygonians” – Avoid all giants.

“Circe” or “All Men are Pigs.” - If a woman drugs you and your men and then turns you into pigs; don’t be so quick to judge. She just may be a very sweet person having a really bad day; she might even end up saving your life one day – especially if you insist on putting yourself in constant peril.

“Tiresias, the ancient Greek’s GPS” – If only one person in the known universe can tell you how to get home, you just may have to go to Hell and back for directions. So quit whining.

“That Siren Song” – Obviously, seductive women are harmful to your health.

“Scylla and Charybdis” – If you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, or a perilous whirlpool and a man-eating six headed monster, put the six guys who have been slacking on their chores in front. It’s a great motivational tool for the others.

“Respect the Sun”- If you are stranded on the Sun’s private island, convince your men to eat sand before pilfering his private stock.

“And then there was One” – If your rebellious crew eats the cattle of the Sun and your entire crew and ship are destroyed by Zeus as a punishment - take a vacation. Ogygia is lovely this time of year, even if the nymphs are a little bit clingy.

By this time, the king and queen completely regret asking Odysseus about his journey and quickly pack him a ship and provisions in the hopes that he will never tell his story again.

Useful vocabulary in a conversation about the journey of Odysseus:

  • Circuitous - Indirect
  • Inept - Incompetent; useless
  • Fickle - Unpredictable; easily swayed
  • Solicit - To ask for, seek
  • Vagrant- Beggar; person wandering without shelter

Finally, Odysseus reaches his home island of Ithaca, but rather than going directly to the castle, he stops at the hut of Eumaeus. Once again disguised by Athena, (who must really appreciate the element of surprise) Odysseus pretends to be a beggar and seeks shelter.

Athena guides Telemachus to Eumaeus’s hut and removes the beggar’s disguise so that Telemachus can see his father in all of his heroic splendor. They exchange hugs and immediately begin plotting the demise of the suitors. Odysseus will enter the castle in the disguise of a beggar. Once he is there, he and Telemachus will wait for the right moment to begin the bloodshed.

Updated on Jan 4, 2013
See more activities in: High School, Comprehension
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