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The Odyssey

Homer
Main Ideas

Allusions

Main Ideas Allusions

Book 1

Historical/Mythological

[H]e had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy. (Book 1, lines 2–3)

This is an allusion to the Trojan War, which the Greeks waged against the Trojans following Paris of Troy’s abduction of Helen.

Mythological

[T]hey devoured the cattle of the Sun and the Sungod blotted out the day of their return. (Book 1, lines 9–10)

This is an allusion to Helios, the Greek god of the sun.

Mythological

[F]ar away at the feast the Sea-lord sat and took his pleasure. (Book 1, line 30)

This is an allusion to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes.

Mythological

[A]nnounce at once to the nymph with lovely braids our fixed decree[.] (Book 1, lines 101–102)

This is an allusion to Calypso, a nymph and daughter of the Titan Atlas.

Mythological

[T]hough I am hardly a seer or know the flights of birds. (Book 1, line 234)

This is an allusion to the Greek custom of observing the birds for omens of the future, signs that often were ascribed directly to Zeus.

Mythological

“Still,” the clear-eyed goddess reassured him[.] (Book 1, line 256)

The phrase “clear-eyed goddess” is an allusion to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and handicraft.

Book 2

Mythological

When young Dawn with her rose-red fingers shone once more . . . (Book 2, line 1)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Book 3

Mythological

[E]ven his death— the son of Cronus shrouds it all in mystery. (Book 3, lines 97–98)

This is an allusion to Zeus, the king of the Greek gods.

Mythological

If only the bright-eyed goddess chose to love you[.] (Book 3, lines 247–248)

This is an allusion to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and handicraft.

Mythological

So, off you go with your ships and shipmates now. . . . to sunny Lacedaemon, home of the red-haired king. (Book 3, lines 364–365)

This is an allusion to Menelaus, the king of Sparta.

Mythological

[S]o once we’ve poured libations out to the Sea-lord and every other god, we’ll think of sleep. (Book 3, lines 374–375)

This is an allusion to Poseidon, the god of the sea and earthquakes.

Mythological

When young Dawn with her rose-red fingers shone once more . . . (Book 3, line 550)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Book 4

Mythological

The red-haired king took great offense at that[.] (Book 4, line 35)

This is an allusion to Menelaus, the king of Sparta.

Historical/Mythological

Well, would to god I’d stayed right here in my own house with a third of all that wealth and they were still alive, all who died on the wide plain of Troy those years ago, far from the stallion-land of Argos. (Book 4, lines 108–111)

This is an allusion to the Trojan War, which the Greeks waged against the Trojans following Paris of Troy’s abduction of Helen.

Historical/Mythological

What a piece of work the hero dared and carried off in the wooden horse where all our best encamped[.] (Book 4, lines 304–305)

This is an allusion to the Trojan horse, a wooden horse that the Greeks built and hid inside in order to infiltrate the city of Troy.

Mythological

When young Dawn with her rose-red fingers shone once more . . . (Book 4, line 343)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

[O]r is he dead already, lost in the House of Death? (Book 4, line 938)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Book 5

Mythological

As Dawn rose up from bed by her lordly mate Tithonus . . . (Book 5, line 1)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

Announce to the nymph with lovely braids our fixed decree . . . (Book 5, line 34)

This is an allusion to Calypso, a nymph and daughter of the Titan Atlas.

Mythological

So Zeus decreed and the giant-killing guide obeyed at once. (Book 5, line 47)

This is an allusion to Hermes, the messenger of the gods, who killed the giant Argus and served as mortals’ guide to Hades, or the underworld, where the ancient Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Mythological

[F]orever scanning the stars, the Pleiades and the Plowman late to set and the Great Bear that mankind also calls the Wagon: she wheels on her axis always fixed, watching the Hunter, and she alone is denied a plunge in the Ocean’s baths. (Book 5, lines 298–302)

These are allusions to constellations associated with Greek myths: Boötes, or the Plowman, is associated with Demeter’s son who drove the oxen in the Big Dipper; the constellation Ursa Major, also known as a Great Bear or Wagon, is associated with the nymph Callisto, who was changed into a bear and placed in the sky; the Hunter is associated with Orion, a giant hunter who was placed in the sky by an angry goddess.

Mythological

East and South Winds clashed and the raging West and North, sprung from the heavens[.] (Book 5, lines 325–326)

This is an allusion to the Anemoi, who were the four Greek wind gods who each were associated with a cardinal direction and a season.

Mythological

[T]he famous god of earthquakes hates my very name! (Book 5, line 467)

This is an allusion to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes.

Mythological

[U]nlucky Odysseus would have met his death— against the will of Fate[.] (Book 5, lines 480–481)

This is an allusion to the ancient Greek Fates, or Moirai, who determined when a person’s life would end.

Book 6

Mythological

Disguised, the bright-eyed goddess chided[.] (Book 6, line 27)

This is an allusion to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and handicraft.

Mythological

Dawn soon rose on her splendid throne[.] (Book 6, line 53)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Book 7

Mythological

“Oh yes, sir, good old stranger,” the bright-eyed goddess said[.] (Book 7, lines 30–31)

This is an allusion to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and handicraft.

Mythological

[B]ut the Sea-lord lay in love with Periboea and she produced a son[.] (Book 7, lines 70–71)

The “Sea-lord” is an allusion to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes.

Mythological

There in the future he must suffer all that Fate and the overbearing Spinners spun out on his life line the very day his mother gave him birth[.] (Book 7, lines 232–234)

This is an allusion to the ancient Greek Fates, or Moirai, who were often depicted as spinning thread, which represented the life span of a mortal at birth.

Book 8

Mythological

When young Dawn with her rose-red fingers shone once more . . . (Book 8, line 1)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

This snare the Firegod forged, ablaze with his rage at War[.] (Book 8, line 313)

This is an allusion to Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, blacksmiths, craftsmen, volcanoes, and metalworking, as well as Ares, the Greek god of war.

Mythological

But the god of battle kept no blind man’s watch. As soon as he saw the Master Craftsman leave he plied his golden reins[.] (Book 8, lines 323–325)

This is an allusion to Ares, the Greek god of war, as well as Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, blacksmiths, craftsmen, volcanoes, and metalworking.

Mythological

[F]or the Sungod kept hiswatch and told Hephaestus all[.] (Book 8, line 343)

This is an allusion to Helios, the Greek god of the sun.

Mythological

“Oh Apollo, if only!” the giant-killer cried. “Archer, bind me down with triple those endless chains![”] (Book 8, lines 381–382)

This is an allusion to Hermes, the messenger of the gods who killed the giant Argus, and Apollo, the Greek god of archery.

Mythological

But the god of earthquakes reassured the Smith [.] (Book 8, line 397)

This quote contains an allusion to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes, and an allusion to Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, blacksmiths, craftsmen, volcanoes, and metalworking.

Mythological

With all his force the god of fire loosed the chains and the two lovers, free of the bonds that overwhelmed them so, sprang up and away at once, and the Wargod sped to Thrace while Love with her telltale laughter sped to Paphos[.] (Book 8, lines 402–405)

This quote contains allusions to Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, blacksmiths, craftsmen, volcanoes, and metalworking; to Ares, the Greek god of war; and to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

Book 9

Historical

But I would not let our rolling ships set sail until the crews had raised the triple cry[.] (Book 9, lines 73–74)

This is an allusion to a Greek funeral rite.

Mythological

When Dawn with her lovely locks brought on the third day . . . (Book 9, line 85)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

Would to god I could strip you of life and breath and ship you down to the House of Death[.] (Book 9, lines 580–581)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Mythological

[N]o one will ever heal your eye, not even your earthquake god himself! (Book 9, lines 582–583)

This is an allusion to Poseidon, the god of the sea and earthquakes.

Book 10

Mythological

Yet he set the West Wind free to blow us on our way[.] (Book 10, line 29)

This is an allusion to Zephryus, the Greek god of the west wind.

Mythological

Both were bred by the Sun who lights our lives[.] (Book 10, line 152)

This is an allusion to Helios, the Greek god of the sun.

Mythological

When Dawn with her lovely locks brought on the third day . . . (Book 10, line 158)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

[W]e won’t go down to the House of Death, not yet[.] (Book 10, line 192)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Mythological

[T]he giant-killer handed over the magic herb[.] (Book 10, line 335)

This is an allusion to Hermes, the messenger of the gods, who killed the giant Argus.

Book 11

Mythological

[H]eadfirst from the roof I plunged, my neck snapped from the backbone, my soul flew down to Death. (Book 11, lines 71–72)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Mythological/Historical

Have you just come from Troy, wandering long years with your men and ship? (Book 11, lines 183–184)

This is an allusion to the Trojan War, which the Greeks waged against the Trojans following Paris of Troy’s abduction of Helen.

Mythological

No sharp-eyed Huntress showering arrows through the halls approached and brought me down with painless shafts[.] (Book 11, lines 226–227)

This is an allusion to Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt.

Mythological

And I saw Iphimedeia next, Aloeus’ wife, who claimed she lay in the Sea-lord’s loving waves[.] (Book 11, lines 348–349)

This is an allusion to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes.

Mythological

I could hold out here till Dawn’s first light[.] (Book 11, line 425)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Book 12

Mythological

[E]ast where the Dawn forever young has home and dancing-rings and the Sun his risings— heading in we beached our craft on the sands, the crews swung out on the low sloping shore and there we fell asleep, awaiting Dawn’s first light. (Book 12, lines 3–7)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, as well as to Helios, the Greek god of the sun.

Mythological

Nor did our coming back from Death escape Circe . . . ‘Ah my daring, reckless friends! You who ventured down to the House of Death alive[.’] (Book 12, lines 17–23)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Mythological

[T]hey told me to shun this island of the Sun[.] (Book 12, lines 291–292)

This is an allusion to Helios, the Greek god of the sun.

Book 13

Mythological

When young Dawn with her rose-red fingers shone once more . . . (Book 13, line 19)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

Earth-shaker, you with your massive power, why moaning so? (Book 13, line 159

This is an allusion to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes.

Mythological

“King of the dark cloud,” the earthquake god agreed, “I’d like to avenge myself at once[.”] (Book 13, lines 166–167)

This is an allusion to Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, and Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes.

Mythological

Stand by me—furious now as then, my bright-eyed one[.] (Book 13, line 445)

This is an allusion to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and handicraft.

Book 14

Mythological

But the deadly spirits soon swept him down to the House of Death[.] (Book 14, lines 237–238)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Book 15

Mythological

At those words Dawn rose on her golden throne[.] (Book 15, line 62)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

Are they still alive, perhaps, still looking into the light of day? Or dead by now, and down in Death’s long house? (Book 15, lines 387–389)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Book 17

Mythological

When young Dawn with her rose-red fingers shone once more . . . (Book 17, line 1)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Book 18

Mythological

[T]he bright-eyed goddess thought of one more thing. (Book 18, line 212)

This is an allusion to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and handicraft.

Mythological

She cleansed her cheeks, her brow and fine eyes with ambrosia smooth as the oils the goddess Love applies[.] (Book 18, lines 218–220)

This is an allusion to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

Book 19

Historical/Mythological

A black day it was when he took ship to see that cursed city . . . (Book 19, lines 297–298)

This is an allusion to the city of Troy, where the Trojan War took place.

Mythological

But come, women, wash the stranger and make his bed, with bedding, blankets and lustrous spreads to keep him warm till Dawn comes up and takes her golden throne. (Book 19, line 364–366)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

Never did any mortal burn the Old Thunderer[.] (Book 19, line 415)

This is an allusion to Zeus, the king of the Greek gods.

Mythological

Like Pandareus’ daughter, the nightingale in the green woods lifting her lovely song at the first warm rush of spring . . . (Book 19, lines 585–586)

This is an allusion to Aedon, the daughter of King Pandareus, whom Zeus turned into a nightingale.

Book 20

Mythological

At those words Dawn rose on her golden throne in a sudden gleam of light. (Book 20, lines 101–102)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

If he’s dead already, lost in the House of Death, my heart aches for Odysseus, my great lord and master. (Book 20, lines 229–230)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Book 21

Mythological

”Today is a feast-day up and down the island in honor of the Archer God.” (Book 21, lines 288–289)

This is an allusion to Apollo, the Greek god of archery.

Book 22

Mythological

[B]ut the Sungod hammers down and burns their lives out . . . (Book 22, line 413)

This is an allusion to Helios, the Greek god of the sun.

Book 23

Historical/Mythological

Not once have I slept so soundly since the day Odysseus sailed away to see that cursed city . . . (Book 23, lines 19–20)

This is an allusion to the city of Troy, where the Trojan War was fought.

Mythological

So the ghost of Tiresias prophesied to me, the day that I went down to the House of Death to learn our best route home[.] (Book 23, lines 286–288)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Mythological

[H]is shipmates slaughtered the cattle of the Sun[.] (Book 23, line 372)

This is an allusion to Helios, the Greek god of the sun.

Mythological

[S]he roused young Dawn from Ocean’s banks to her golden throne[.] (Book 23, line 391)

This is an allusion to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, and Oceanus, the Greek god who personified the ocean.

Book 24

Mythological

[P]ast the White Rock and the Sun’s Western Gates[.] (Book 24, line 13)

This is an allusion to Helios, the Greek god of the sun.

Mythological

So they traded stories, the two ghosts standing there in the House of Death, far in the hidden depths below the earth. (Book 24, lines 224–226)

This is an allusion to Hades, the Greek underworld, where Greeks believed the souls of the dead went.

Mythological

[T]he long-enduring great Odysseus, gathering all his force, swooped like a soaring eagle— just as the son of Cronus hurled a reeking bolt[.] (Book 24, lines 590–592)

This is an allusion to Zeus, the king of the Greek gods.

Mythological

Call a halt to the great leveller, War— don’t court the rage of Zeus who rules the world! (Book 24, lines 596–597)

This is an allusion to Ares, the Greek god of war.