Themes and Motifs From the Odyssey


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  • Brains Over Brawn
  • "Sirens weaving a haunting song over the sea we are to shun."
  • You all must put beeswax in you ears. As for me, you shall tie me up "tight as a splint along the mast."
  • We're past the Sirens, men. Take off the wax from your ears and untie me. We've made it!
  • Odysseus and his men near the Sirens and Odysseus warns them of the Sirens and their powers.
  • Temptation
  • Odysseus gets his crew ready to sail past the Sirens, according to Circe's advice.
  • Odysseus and his men sail past the Sirens safely.
  • Come, let us kill this beast. We shall sacrifice what we do not eat to the gods.
  • Odysseus warns his men to leave the cattle on Helios's island alone.
  • "The cattle here are not for our provision, or we pay dearly for it."
  • The men have run out of food and are desperate to eat, so they decide to butcher the forbidden cows.
  • "Famine is the most pitiful death..., the worst end that a man can come to."
  • While Odysseus is gone, his men slay one of Helios's cattle and in return they will be killed by the god himself.
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