ODYSSEUS (PART II) DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
"Ah, once the gods weave trouble into our lives
They drive us across the earth, they drown us all in pain,
Even kings of the realm."
--The cowherd Philoetius to Odysseus (Book 20)
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
How would you compare and contrast Books 1-12 of the Odyssey with Books 13-24 in regards to rhythms, pacing, themes, and connections?
What is most interesting to you about Odysseus once he returns to Ithaca? What role does his scar play in the story and what is its symbolic meaning?
Assess Penelope as a character. How similar and how different is she from Odysseus? How would you describe the relationship between her and Odysseus?
Are there particular episodes or passages that captured your attention in the second half of the Odyssey?
How did you respond to the slaughter of the suitors and to the hanging of the female slaves?
How would you compare and contrast the Fall of Troy with Odysseus' return to his palace? Are there provocative pairings that you might highlight here?
Where would you start in analyzing Book 24 of the Odyssey? How does it fit into the story of Odysseus? Into the Trojan War story as a whole?
How would you characterize the relationship between Odysseus and both his son Telemachus and his father Laertes?
What other character or characters from the Odyssey most interest you and why?
What role do the Gods play in the Odyssey? How would you describe these gods and their relationship with mortals?
What portrait of the human condition is offered in the Odyssey?
Does the Odyssey have an overarching theme or lesson?
Some Extra Resources
"Emily Wilson, Classicist And Translator, 2019 MacArthur Fellow," MacArthur Foundation, September 25, 2019. (3 mins)
Wyatt Mason, "The First Woman To Translate The 'Odyssey' Into English," New York Times Magazine, November 2, 2017.
Charlotte Higgins, "'The Odyssey,' Translated By Emily Wilson Review -- A New Cultural Landmark," Guardian, December 8, 2017.
Gregory Hays, "A Version Of Homer That Dares To Match Him Line For Line," New York Times, December 5, 2017.
Richard H. Armstrong, "Homer For Scalaways: Emily Wilson's 'Odyssey,'" Los Angeles Review Of Books (August 5, 2018).
Anna North, "Historically, Men Translated 'The Odyssey': Here's What Happened When A Woman Took The Job," Vox, November 20, 2017.
Annalisa Quinn, "Emily Wilson's 'Odyssey' Scrapes The Barnacles Off Homer's Hull," NPR, December 2, 2017.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 13, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 14, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 15, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 16, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 17, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 18, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 19, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 20, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 21, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 22, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 23, Read By Emily Wilson.
Emily Wilson's Odyssey Translation, Book 24, Read By Emily Wilson.
"Classicist Emily Wilson: Why Homer's 'Odyssey' Is A Great Story," The Western Canon Podcast, January 3, 2018. (7 mins)
"Emily Wilson: On Gender And Being The First Woman To Translate Homer's 'Odyssey' Into English," iWizard, January 4, 2018. (22 mins)
Emily Wilson, "A Translator's Reckoning With The Women Of 'The Odyssey,'" New Yorker (December 8, 2017).
Emily Wilson, "Translating The Classics Again: How And Why," Yale University, March 27, 2019. (55 mins)
Amy Brady, "How Emily Wilson Translated 'The Odyssey,'" Chicago Review Of Books (January 16, 2018).
Meghan O'Rourke, Parul Sehgal and Katy Waldman, "The Odyssey," Slate Audio Book Club, December 19, 2017: The panelists discuss Emily Wilson's translation.
"Epic Voices: Emily Wilson On 'The Odyssey,'" Poet's House, September 20, 2018. (77 mins)
Corinne Pache, "Review Of 'Homer: The Odyssey' By Emily Wilson," Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2018).
Video SparkNotes -- Homer's The Odyssey Summary: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3
Odyssey, 1997: A feature-length television version of the Homeric epic.
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, "'The Odyssey' And The Other," Atlantic (December 2017).
Clash Of The Gods -- Odysseus: An extensive introduction to the Homeric hero from the History Channel's big-budget-but-ultimately-disappointing introduction to mythology.
Episode 1: Curse Of The Sea
Episode 2: Warrior's Revenge
"The Odyssey," In Our Time, September 9, 2004: BBC host and guests discuss Homer's classic.