The Odyssey Vocabulary Lesson Plan

  • 23 pages
  • Subject: Historical Context, Themes, Vocabulary, Lesson Plans and Educational Resources
  • Common Core Standards: RL.9-10.1, RL.9-10.2, RL.9-10.4, RL.9-10.6

Additional The Odyssey Resources

Product Description

Cultural Concepts in Ancient Greece Revealed Through Vocabulary in The Odyssey

This lesson plan focuses on analyzing passages from Book IV of The Odyssey and interpreting how they reflect the culture of ancient Greece. Students will identify and explain examples of words and phrases that illustrate the concepts of oikos, xenia, and kleos. By analyzing Homer’s diction in relation to Greek culture, students will be better able to identify and expound upon themes in The Odyssey.

Skills: vocabulary building, close reading, drawing inferences from the text

Introduction to the Lesson

Written at the end of the 8th century BCE, Homer’s Odyssey is one of the foundational texts of Western literature.

It tells the story of Odysseus, a Greek hero of the Trojan War, as he attempts to return home to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to return home because his pride leads him to insult the god Poseidon, who then punishes Odysseus, sabotaging his journey by creating great perils for Odysseus to overcome. Odysseus uses his cunning, intelligence, and strength to battle a cyclops, outsmart sirens, and venture into the underworld; once at home, he employs the same heroic qualities to defeat a hundred suitors who have descended on his wife and taken over his house in his absence. He is aided by the goddess Athena and great kings along the way. While at the beginning of the story Odysseus’s hubris, or excessive pride, almost destroys him, by the end of his epic journey, he has demonstrated the fine qualities of character that establish him as the epitome of a Greek hero.

Many aspects of The Odyssey reflect ancient Greek culture, which can be hard for modern readers to comprehend. Concepts such as the Greeks’ allegiance to one’s heritage and family lineage, the position of women in society, and the rights of guests in one’s home have largely faded from Western culture. However, by examining passages in The Odyssey, readers can more easily understand the culture of ancient Greece and the themes in Homer’s epic poem.

About This Document

Owl Eyes lesson plans have been developed to meet the demanding needs of today’s educational environment and bridge the gap between online learning and in-class instruction. The main components of each plan include the following:

  • An introduction to the text
  • A step-by-step guide to lesson procedure
  • Previous and following lesson synopses for preparation and extension ideas
  • A collection of handouts complete with answer keys

Each of these comprehensive, 60-minute plans focus on promoting meaningful interaction, analytical skills, and student-centered activities, drawing from the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and the expertise of classroom teachers.