8th Century BCE
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Echo and Narcissus
- Ovid, translated by Brookes More
- 1 A.D.
Ovid writes of a sadder version of love in his tale “Echo and Narcissus” which describes two cases of unrequited love. Echo, a mountain nymph , falls in love with a beautiful young man, but he has eyes only for himself. For both characters, Ovid shows how love can persist, even in unrealistic circumstances.Pair “Echo and Narcissus” with “Excerpt from The Odyssey” and ask students to discuss what similar themes are portrayed in the two myths. Why is Narcissus’ beauty dangerous and how does this compare to the dangers posed by the Sirens’ beautiful song?
Ancient Greece: The Birthplace of Western Individualism
“Ancient Greece: The Birthplace of Western Individualism” contemplates the relationship between the ancient Greeks’ human-oriented polytheism and their cultural endorsement of individualism.Pair “Ancient Greece: The Birthplace of Western Individualism” with “Excerpt from The Odyssey” to provide students with additional information on Greek history and mythology. How does “Ancient Greece: The Birthplace of Western Individualism” explore the role that Greek mythology played in Greek life? How is the article’s depiction of humans and gods in Greek myths reflected in “Excerpt from The Odyssey”?
The Hero's Journey
- Jessica McBirney
In the informational text “The Hero’s Journey,” Jessica McBirney discusses a common structure among many stories across genres.Pair “Excerpt from the Odyssey: The Siren” with “The Hero’s Journey” to provide students with an excerpt from one well-known hero’s story. Ask students to discuss what portion of the Hero’s Journey is present in the excerpt from “The Odyssey.” How do students think storytellers have used heroes’ stories from the past to construct today’s stories?
Excerpt from “The Lotos-Eaters”
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
In Alfred Tennyson’s poem “The Lotos-Eaters,” a group of sailors decides to retire in a strange land, eating flowers that alter their mental state.Pair “Excerpt from The Odyssey: The Sirens” with “The Lotos-Eaters” to provide students with another story from “The Odyssey.” How do the effects of the sirens compare to the effects of the lotos flowers? How do both attempt to derail the impacted characters from their original paths in life?