The Odyssey Study Guide

Homer’s Odyssey is an iconic piece of Ancient Greek literature. This epic poem remains famous for centuries. But what is The Odyssey about? Well, the book tells a fascinating story about Gods and people, their relationships, and the power of persistence and true love.

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In our The Odyssey study guide by, you’ll see the poem explored in-depth. Learn here key facts about the epic and its historical context, and check out this guide’s other articles to learn about the Odyssey‘s plot, characters, themes, symbols, genre, and key idea!

The Odyssey Key Facts

Full Title The Odyssey
Author Homer
Genre An epic poem
Date of Publishing1488 (in English)
Setting (Time)Bronze Age (around 12th century BC); 10 years after the end of the Trojan War.
Setting (Place)Ancient Greece (Ithaca, Olympus, Mediterranean Sea, Aiaia, Aiolia, Elysion, Ismaros, Sparta, Lamos, Mount Parnassos, Ogygia, Pherai, Pylos, Scheria, Thrinakia, the Underworld).

The Odyssey Articles

The Odyssey: Summary & Analysis

The Odyssey is the epic poem attributed to the Greek poet Homer. It tells the story of the courageous and witty warrior Odysseus. Being separated from his family because of the Trojan War, he desperately tries to get to Ithaca, his homeland.

The Odyssey: Characters

To analyze the characters in The Odyssey, you need to understand their purpose. The majority of them are not fleshed out or multifaceted, except for Odysseus, his wife, and son. The rest of The Odyssey characters are either an obstacle or an assistant.

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The Odyssey: Themes

Homer’s The Odyssey is an iconic ancient Greek epic poem that remains popular even nowadays. The enormous success of this literary work can be explained by the timeless issues raised in the poem. The themes of The Odyssey impress with their diversity and relevance.

The Odyssey: Symbols

Being an incredibly talented poet, Homer employed numerous symbols in The Odyssey. They are essential for the readers because they represent the broader meaning of the poem. In this article, you will find the epic’s main symbols together with their meaning and importance.

The Odyssey: Essay Topics & Samples

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Are you studying Homer’s Odyssey and need to write a paper on it? Are you lost in the vast diversity of themes the poem is covering? Or maybe you are searching for prompts or examples of Odyssey essays? Lucky you! This article will help you with that.

Historical Context of The Odyssey

The Iliad and The Odyssey are two interlinked epic poems. They focus on one historical event – the Trojan War. However, there are major differences between these poems. The Iliad covers only the war, while The Odyssey is the logical extension of the first narrative. Namely, it’s a description of the events after the fall of Troy.

There are a lot of controversies around the Trojan War described in Homeric poems. The people of Ancient Greece assumed that this event indeed happened sometime between the 12th and 11th centuries BC. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period, scholars claimed that the noble warriors and events depicted in The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer are fictitious.

Nevertheless, in the previous century, geologists and archeologists with a focus on Greek mythology made several important discoveries. They found ruins of places that directly correspond to those described in The Iliad and The Odyssey. So, we can assume that Homeric writings are a combination of real events and fictitious details. Modern scholars, for example, claim that Ancient Greeks indeed invaded a city called Troy. However, the events in the epic poems have nothing to do with reality.

The Odyssey as an epic opens the door to the world of Ancient Greece, its culture, and customs. The readers get familiar with an image of a true hero – a noble and brave warrior whose responsibility is to defend the land. The invasion of Troy for Odysseus is a matter of honor. Thus, he bravely overcomes all the obstacles on his way and reaches his family as a caring father and husband.

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