We have discussed the Homeric notion of nostos, which is also discussed in my notes, as well as on page 71 of the introduction of the Odyssey. Nostos, is the drive engine of the entire epic. It’s nostos that keeps pushing Odysseus homeward. In order to reach his destination he needs to overcome great obstacles threatening his memory and thus his identity. As the opposite of memory, oblivion (forgetfulness, amnesia) undermines a person’s consciousness of the self, thus it destabilizes and destroys any sense of identity. Odysseus needs to constantly fight the forces of oblivion to maintain his memory and attain his nostos.

Your first task is to explain in your own words and understanding the meaning of nostos and how it relates to the overall journey of Odysseus. Use specific examples/quotes to illustrate your point.

Your second task is to list and discuss briefly at least 2 incidents/moments in the narrative (Chapters 5-12) in which Odysseus confronts the forces of oblivion that threaten his memory. These forces are represented by certain characters that appear in his path with the purpose of derailing his journey or eliminating him altogether. You need to be specific: Who is threatening Odysseus’ memory and how?

Write about 400 words.

2/ In chapter 11 of the Odyssey, Odysseus descends to the Underworld.

Begin by explaining how is the Underworld described in the poem and what is the purpose of Odysseus’ journey down there? Then respond to the following:

-Who sends him there?

-Four of his most important encounters in the Underworld are with Elpenor, Tiresias. Anticleia, and Achilles. Who are these characters and what does Odysseus learn from his interaction with each of them perspectively? Use specific examples and quotes to illustrate your points and your knowledge.

Write about 500-600 words.

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