Having put this item low on my list of priorities for a while too long:
I found the trip Odesseus takes home interesting in the least.
I think that Poseidon is just answering the prayer of the Kyklops when he attacks Odesseus on the way to Ithaka. I don’t think it has anything to do with what Odesseus did other than it was the Kyklops that did not like it.
I do not understand why the Gods put Odesseus to sleep so that his men could eat the Helios’ cows. I also do not understand why the Greeks have connected the cows to Helios.
Book 1~4 of Homer’s Odyssey outlines Telemakhos’ attempt to search his father Odysseus who failed to come back to Ithaka after the Trojan War. I’ve discovered some traces of oral literature which are repeated phrases in the story such as “grey-eyed Goddess (p. 3)” and “When primal Dawn spread on the eastern sky her fingers of pink light (p.19)”. I ‘ve thought that there would be significance to these phrases, but ultimately discovered that these are just repetitions to emphasize the characteristic of protagonists in the poem or to make the following content more memorable. Also, the cultural aspect shown in the Odyssey was foreign to me. There is certain way to greet strangers: offering them food, asking their background, and giving presents. I found this greeting very intriguing since it’s hard to show such hospitality to total stranger from the contemporary perspective. Furthermore, people’s various response towards Gods raised the question of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Some parts suggest that God is omniscient such as Athena who knows where Odysseus is, and disguises as the Leader. However, some parts reveal that even Gods are powerless in front of death. Hence, book 1 to 4 not only provided background information about Telemakhos and Odyssey, but also introduced some themes that are shown throughout the poem.