BOOK 1 – ATHENA AND TELEMACHUS
All the survivors of the Trojan War have at last arrived safely home with
the exception of Odysseus.
He is being detained by the nymph Calypso who wishes to marry him.
He has the sympathy of the gods with the exception of Poseidon, who bears him a grudge and wishes to torment him.
In Poseidon’s absence, Zeus calls a divine council on Mount Olympus.
One of their main concerns has been the recent murder of Agamemnon by his wife Clymestra and her lover Aegisthus.
Athena interrupts her father and again reminds him of poor Odysseus.
Zeus agrees that he should now be allowed to return home, and so he sends Hermes to Calypso to order her to free Odysseus, and he gives his daughter leave to go and see Odysseus’ son.
When Athena arrives at Ithaca, she finds Odysseus’ home overrun with suitors
seeking to marry Odysseus’ wife Penelope who they believe is now a widow. Athena assumes the disguise of Mentor, an old friend of Odysseus and who is, therefore, welcomed by Telemachus.
Athena confirms that Odysseus is still alive and that he will return home to
punish the suitors and recognize his son. Athena advises Telemachus to sail for Pylos and Sparta to learn more about his father. She says it is time for Telemachus to face his responsibilities.
Telemachus returns to the banquet of the suitors and orders them to leave
the hall. They are surprised at his sudden manliness, but they ignore him and continue their feasting. Telemachus retires and considers his impending journey.