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Episode 12: Home
- Starting points
- Further activities
The words of Tiresias: Think back. Is there something which Tiresias told Odysseus to do, but which he has not yet done? Can you remember what it is? (Travel to the mainland and head far inland to a place where people had never seen an oar.)
Weapons: They are important in this episode and will be used in two different ways. Use information books to find out about the kinds of weapons used in Greece at this time. Look at all the illustrations we have seen. Now can we picture the weapons in our mind’s eye, when we hear about them in the story?
Home: We have been sharing the journey of Odysseus to find his home. What does the word ‘home’ mean to you? In this episode we learn what the word ‘home’ really means to Odysseus. Listen hard to find out.
What will happen?: What do you hope will happen? How do you feel about the story coming to an end?
Key moments: This episode is the climax to the whole story. (Ask learners to think about key moments and explain how they reacted.) Was there a moment when you wanted to cheer? (When the arrow hit Antinous in the throat?) or thought ‘Oh no!’ (When Penelope said she could not sleep with Odysseus?), or wanted to cry? When were you puzzled? When worried things wouldn’t turn out? When surprised, bored, angry, feeling sorry for someone, wishing you were there, thinking it was just too gory?
The illustration Odysseus slaughters the suitors: How does this fit with the pictures in your head?
Quiz questions: You will need to add questions based on this episode.
Our own Odyssey storytelling competition: This activity results in organising a storytelling competition and telling the stories of The Odyssey in public to pass them on to others.
Give some background about Homer, his poems and the competitive recitals held in ancient Greece. Hold a story-telling competition for the learners to pass on the stories they have heard. Let the children decide for themselves what sort of competition they want. (Use talk to organise roles and action.) Will it be compulsory? Where and when will they hold it? Who will the audience be? What rules, time limits, judges, prizes? Consider whether storytellers should use written notes. Should they link the stories to the objects in the story chest? Finally everyone needs to draw up and agree a list of criteria for judging. (Prepare stories for performance identifying appropriate expression, tone and tell stories using voice effectively.)
Odysseus slaughters the suitors
Based on an Attic red figure skyphos, attributed to the Penelope painter, 440 BC, Antikemuseen, Berlin
Three suitors are being attacked by Odysseus’ arrows, while two young women, possibly female slaves, are watching with anxiety. One suitor has already been shot through the chest with an arrow, and has turned to try to reach it. The other two suitors aim to protect themselves, one by lifting up a table to hide behind, the other by raising up his hand. The suitors are mostly naked – what does this suggest about them?
The figures in this illustration are posed very expressively and formally. Discuss what each is doing and how you can tell from the pose. However there are not many of them. According to the story the hall was crowded and that made the contest all the more dramatic. Try out different individual poses. This is an opportunity for a whole class to create a tableau of still poses showing all the people in the hall at the moment the arrow was shot.
See also teaching activities for Episode 12.