Reading Questions for Odyssey 6, 8, 9, 10 1. What kind of people are the Phaiakians, at least from their actions and concerns? Put another way: does being “close to the gods” make them more or less honorable? How is Nausicaa’s “laundry run” similar or different to other long descriptive scenes in Homer? 2. Why is Odysseus torn as to how to approach Nausicaa? What kind of solution does he ultimately adopt, and why? Are the story he puts forward and the image he tries to paint of himself altogether honest? 3. How does Nausicaa compare to other similar characters in the Odyssey? To Penelope? To Helen? To Telemachus? To Odysseus himself? 4. Why does Odysseus cry when he hears Demodokos sing of Troy? Remember that Penelope also cried when Phemios told a similar in book 1. Are they crying for the same reason? Is it believable that there could already be “epic” songs about Troy just ten years after its destruction? 5. What does the exchange among Laodamas, Euryalos, and Odysseus tell us about the Phaiakians and about what is honorable and dishonorable? How is this resolved? 6. Why does the author choose to have Demodokos sing of Ares and Aphrodite? How is Odysseus perhaps similar to Hephaistos? What do we learn about the gods and goddesses from their reactions to Aphrodite’s and Ares’ tryst? 7. What part do Odysseus’ companions play in the story of his adventures (n.b. books 9-12 have from antiquity been called the “Adventures” of Odysseus)? Do you believe Odysseus when he claims over and over again that he suffered because of them? 8. What is the “lesson” to be learned from the encounter with the Kikonians? From that with the lotus-eaters? Has Odysseus learned anything from these? 9. N.B. the description of the Cyclopes starting at 9.105. What do you learn of Odysseus’ concept of “civilization” from his description of the Cyclopes and of the nearby island? How does Odysseus decide to approach the land of the Cyclopes? Why does he claim he took the wine? Why did he really take it? Are Odysseus and his companions really within the bounds of the expectations of xenia when they help themselves to the Cyclops’ cheese? How does the custom of xenia shape the events that happen within the cave? What do you think of the Cyclops’ “guest present” to Odysseus? What is the “lesson” of the Cyclops-tale? 10. What occurs after Odysseus gets help from Aiolos? Why does Aiolos turn him away on his return trip, and he is justified? What kind of people are the Laistrygonians? Do you think they would get along with the Cyclopes? 11. How is Odysseus able to avoid being enchanted by Circe? Why is Circe so hospitable after Odysseus eludes her magic? How is Odysseus’ time with Circe like that with Kalypso? 12. Why does Circe send Odysseus to Hades? What do her instructions tell you about Greek beliefs about the underworld and the gods who dwell there?