Book 1 The story begins twenty years after Odysseus left to fight in the Trojan War, and ten years after he began his journey home to Ithaca. We enter the story in medias res — in the middle of things:
Table of Contents Plot Overview Ten years have passed since the fall of Troy, and the Greek hero Odysseus still has not returned to his kingdom in Ithaca. She has remained faithful to Odysseus.
One of the suitors, Antinous, plans to assassinate the young prince, eliminating the only opposition to their dominion over the palace. Unknown to the suitors, Odysseus is still alive.
The beautiful nymph Calypso, possessed by love for him, has imprisoned him on her island, Ogygia. He longs to return to his wife and son, but he has no ship or crew to help him escape. Telemachus makes plans to return home, while, back in Ithaca, Antinous and the other suitors prepare an ambush to kill him when he reaches port.
Hermes persuades Calypso to let Odysseus build a ship and leave.
Poseidon has harbored a bitter grudge against Odysseus since the hero blinded his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus, earlier in his travels. Nausicaa, the Phaeacian princess, shows him to the royal palace, and Odysseus receives a warm welcome from the king and queen.
When he identifies himself as Odysseus, his hosts, who have heard of his exploits at Troy, are stunned. They promise to give him safe passage to Ithaca, but first they beg to hear the story of his adventures. He recounts his trip to the Land of the Lotus Eaters, his battle with Polyphemus the Cyclops, his love affair with the witch-goddess Circe, his temptation by the deadly Sirens, his journey into Hades to consult the prophet Tiresias, and his fight with the sea monster Scylla.
When he finishes his story, the Phaeacians return Odysseus to Ithaca, where he seeks out the hut of his faithful swineherd, Eumaeus.
Though Athena has disguised Odysseus as a beggar, Eumaeus warmly receives and nourishes him in the hut.
Odysseus and Telemachus devise a plan to massacre the suitors and regain control of Ithaca. When Odysseus arrives at the palace the next day, still disguised as a beggar, he endures abuse and insults from the suitors. The only person who recognizes him is his old nurse, Eurycleia, but she swears not to disclose his secret.
Penelope takes an interest in this strange beggar, suspecting that he might be her long-lost husband. At the contest, each suitor tries to string the bow and fails. Odysseus steps up to the bow and, with little effort, fires an arrow through all twelve axes.
He then turns the bow on the suitors. He and Telemachus, assisted by a few faithful servants, kill every last suitor.
Odysseus reveals himself to the entire palace and reunites with his loving Penelope.Overview Spaces Are Limited! Registration is now open! Registering online gives you immediate access to scheduling classes.
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Get an overview of major world indexes, current values and stock market data. Together with its companion poem The Iliad, The Odyssey describes the action and aftermath of the Trojan Wars, andis the model for the heroic quest. Read a character analysis of Odysseus, plot summary, and important quotes.
The Odyssey summary key points: Odysseus’s son Telemachus sneaks off the island to find his father. Menelaus tells him that Odysseus is being held captive by Calypso.