Odyssey Book 10 Discussion Questions

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Would you like to teach your high school students about Book 10 of 'The Odyssey', a famous work of Greek mythology? The following discussion questions will help them examine the legendary Homerian tales.

The Odyssey Book 10

It was Rick Riordan who once wrote 'Being a hero doesn't mean you're invincible. It just means that you're brave enough to stand up and do what's needed.' In The Odyssey Book 10, the hero, although flawed, does indeed step up to help his men when the circumstances are most dire. Your high schoolers will benefit from these discussion questions as they scrutinize the deeper meanings of the iconic voyage.

Questions About the Plot - The Aeolian Isle

  • How would you depict the island Odysseus visited on which Aeolus and his family lived?
  • What was the rather unusual gift Aeolus presented to Odysseus for the latter to carry with on his journey? Why did he choose this gift?
  • What did Odysseus mean when he said they were lost through their own folly?
  • How would you analyze the foolish thing Odysseus's comrades did which caused the ships to be sent off course and back to the Aeolian isle?
  • How would you juxtapose the warm way Aeolus greeted Odysseus and his men the first time they visited, as opposed to the cold way he greeted them the second time they visited?

Questions About the Plot - The Laestrygonians

  • How would you describe the Laestrygonians?
  • What did they immediately do to some of Odysseus's men?
  • What did Odysseus have to do to the cables of his ship?
  • How would you portray what Odysseus and his men were able to do for their ship to be able to escape the island?
  • What became of the other ships and the men aboard them?

Questions About the Plot - Circe

  • How would you judge Odysseus's encounter with the stag on the third day at the island?
  • How did the mountain wolves and lions greet Eurylochus and his band of men?
  • What did Circe do to Odysseus's men? How did Hermes (Argeiphontes) offer to help Odysseus with the predicament?
  • How would you critique the set of circumstances that led Odysseus to ask Circe to swear an oath to him?
  • How would you present the argument between Odysseus and Eurylochus about whether to return to see Circe?
  • What instructions did Circe give to Odysseus about his next journey, which was to be 'to the house of Hades and dread Persephone?'

Questions About the Themes

  • How did Odysseus's pride play a role when he wouldn't sleep for nine days and insisted on steering the ship himself?
    • How did the sailors' pride play a role when they wouldn't listen to Odysseus's commands?
  • In what ways were the blowing winds a representation for both good and bad occurrences that take place on the journey?
  • How was the theme of warm hospitality evident when the sailors visited the different islands?
    • In what ways was the idea of warm hospitality violated instead?
  • How did the theme of intervening by the gods play a role when Odysseus encountered Hermes along the way?
  • How would you compare and contrast the concept of destiny versus the concept of free will that appeared on the journey of the sailors?
  • How did the theme of Odysseus' bad judgement influence the storyline?
    • How did the bad judgement of Eurylochus greatly irritate Odysseus?
  • How were animals represented as a way to appease the gods through sacrificial rituals?
  • How was the theme of conquest portrayed in various ways as the sailors attempted to return home to Ithaca?

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