Odyssey Quiz

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The Odyssey is two narratives in one, written by Homer. One section of the epic poem takes place on Ithaca, an island ruled over by Odysseus, who has been away for twenty years. The second narrative follows Odysseus's own journey home, which is made up of current accounts as well as recollections of his previous adventures in countries inhabited by monsters and natural wonders.

Book 1-4: Telemacheia

The Odyssey begins with a prologue that explains the work's topic and protagonist, Odysseus, as well as Poseidon's fury towards him. The Gods decide it is time for Odysseus, who is stranded on the island of Ogygia by Calypso the nymph, to return home.

Athena, in disguise, is sent by the gods to Ithaca to meet with Odysseus' son Telemachus. Penelope, Odysseus' wife and Telemachus' mother, resides in Ithaca's palace, which is filled with 108 suitors vying for her hand. The suitors insult and humiliate Telemachus on a daily basis. Athena comforts a worried Telemachus and advises him to go to Pylos and Sparta to discover news of his father from King Nestor and Prince Menelaus.

Athena allows Telemachus to depart from his homeland in secret without informing his mother. Athena once again poses as Mentor, Odysseus' old friend, this time to assist him. When Telemachus reaches Pylos, he encounters King Nestor, who informs him that after the conclusion of the war, Odysseus and he parted ways. Agamemnon's homecoming was disastrous; on his return from Troy, he was murdered by his wife and lover Clytemnestra.

Telemachus learns from Helen, Odysseus' wife, in Sparta that he managed to sneak into Troy's fortification before it fell. Meanwhile, the suitors in Ithaca learn that Telemachus has gone and prepare an attack.


Book 5-8: At the Phaeacians’ Court

Hermes, the winged messenger of Zeus, is sent to the island of Calypso to persuade her to release Odysseus, who she had desired to make immortal. Calypso agrees and aids him in constructing a boat by telling him how to get there. Poseidon, however, sees Odysseus approaching Scheria (the island of the Phaeacians), destroys his raft with a storm, and throws him into the sea.

Odysseus swims for three days until he reaches dry land, where he falls asleep under an oleander tree. Nausicaa (the princess of the Phaeacians) finds him and invites him to her palace, where she tells him to seek mercy from queen Arete. Alone, Odysseus arrives at the palace and behaves as instructed; his identity is not revealed. He is given a ship to take him home to Ithaca, and he is requested to join the Phaeacian dinner as one of their guests.

The appearance of the bard Demodocus signals the conclusion of Odysseus' journey, which is concluded by two episodes from the Trojan War intercalated with a retelling of Aphrodite's love affair with Ares. (Demodocus' storytelling, though not explicitly stated, appears to move Odysseus to relate his own journey, as first-person narration begins in Book 9.)


Book 9-12: Odysseus’ Wanderings

Odysseus explains that he is attempting to return home, and he begins to narrate his previous adventures. He goes on to tell the following tale:

After a terrible first trip to the land of the Cycones (the only population in The Odyssey that is mentioned in historical records), Odysseus and his men ended up in the land of the Lotus-eaters, who attempted to feed them food that would have made them give up returning home. The land of the Cyclops followed, where nature was abundant and food abounded.

Odysseus and his troops became trapped in the cave of Polyphemus, the cyclops. Odysseus fooled Polyphemus using his wits, then blinded him, enabling him to flee. Poseidon's fury was aroused by Odysseus' act, because Polyphemus was a Poseidon offspring.

Then they met Aeolus, the ruler of the winds, who gave Odysseus a goatskin with all but Zephyr's wind blowing them towards Ithaca. Some of Odysseus' companions thought the goatskin was filled with riches, so they opened it and were driven back into the ocean once again.


Book 13-19: Back to Ithaca

Odysseus finishes his tale by reciting the Phaeacians' final gifts and riches. He is then immediately taken back to Ithaca on a Phaeacian ship in the middle of the night. Poseidon becomes enraged when Odysseus' ship appears almost in Scheria, turning it to stone, which prompts Alcinous to swear that they will never help any other foreign visitor again.

Athena, disguised as a young shepherd on the Ithacan shore, reveals herself to Odysseus. Odysseus pretends to be a merchant from Crete. Soon, though, Athena and Odysseus abandon their disguises, and they hide the Phaeacians' riches while planning Odysseus' vengeance together.

Athena disguises Odysseus as a beggar and sends him to Sparta to help Telemachus in his return. In the guise of a beggar, Odysseus pays Eumaeus, his devoted swineherder, a visit. Odysseus informs Eumaeus and the other farmers that he is from Crete and was formerly a warrior and seafarer.


Book 18-24: The Slaying of the Suitors

On the next day, thanks to Athena's counsel, Penelope announces an archery event, assuring everyone that the winner will be wed. Odysseus' bow is used as the weapon of choice, implying that he alone is capable of stringing it and firing it through the dozen ax-heads.

The next day, he appears to his elderly father Laertes, who has been living recluse as a result of pain. Odysseus wins Laertes' confidence by talking about an orchard that had previously been given to him.

The citizens of Ithaca intend to avenge the suitors' and Odysseus's crewmen's deaths, as well as Odysseus himself, and so come with him down the road. Athena once again comes to his aid, and justice is restored in Ithaca.

1From what war is Odysseus attempting to return home?

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The Persian War
The Trojan War
The war with Sparta

2Which goddess first visits Telemachus at the home of Odysseus in Book 1?

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The goddess Athena
The goddess Iris
The goddess Hera

3How does the loyal nurse Eurycleia recognize Odysseus?

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She recognizes his voice
She recognizes his hands
She recognizes his scar on his body

4In Penelope’s archery contest, through how many axes must Odysseus fire his arrow?

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5Which plant makes the sailors forget their desire to return home?

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6How many years does the goddess-nymph Calypso hold Odysseus captive?

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7What is the name of Odysseus' dog?

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8What weapon is used in a contest just before the suitors are slaughtered?

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9On Ithaca, Athena helps Odysseus disguise himself as what?

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A beggar
A suitor
A woman

10How many men return with Odysseus to Ithaca?

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11Who is Tiresias?

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A blind seer who gives Odysseus advice in the Land of the Dead
Odysseus’ father
Odysseus’ loyal swineherd who assists in his return to Ithaca

12Who turns Odysseus' men into swine?

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13Where does Odysseus arrive after the raft which Calypso helped him build is wrecked?

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14Which god was angry with Odysseus because Odysseus blinded his son?

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15Which god gave Odysseus a bag of winds?

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16Who took Helen from her husband to start the Trojan war?

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17Approximately when was the Odyssey composed?

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750-700 B.C.
1200-1000 B.C.
500 B.C.

18What is something Teiresias does NOT tell Odysseus during his visit?

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Odysseus must kill all of the suitors
If the men eats the cows, they will not make it home
There are many paths back to Ithaca

19What is Charybdis?

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A giant whirlpool
A chicken with a man's head
A monster with six heads

20Who killed Agamemnon on his return from Troy?

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Clytemnestra and Aegisthus

21In which books of the Odyssey does the hero narrate the tale of his famous wanderings?

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22Which princess awakens Odysseus while she is playing a ball game with her handmaidens?

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