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The Odyssey


The Gods
Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Book 6
Book 7
Book 8
Book 9
Book 10
Book 11
Book 12
Book 13
Book 14
Book 15
Book 16
Book 17
Book 18
Book 19
Book 20
Book 21
Book 22
Book 23
Book 24





The leader of the Achaean expedition to Troy, he was the King of Mycenae.  On his return from Troy he was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra, and her lover Aegisthus. The lover was the son of Thyestes, the brother and enemy of Atreus, Agamemnon’s father.  When Odysseus voyages to Hades he meets with Agamemnon’s ghost.

The King of the Phaeacians and husband of Arete, who had a daughter called Nausicaa. Nausicaa helps Odysseus when he first arrives in their land. The King is a gracious ruler and is instrumental in assisting Odysseus in returning to Ithaca.

He is the leader of the suitors that besiege Penelope, and the other suitors copy his cruelty and greed. He mistreats Odysseus when disguised as a beggar on his return to Ithaca. He is unashamed of his behavior and is a totally evil man. He is the first to be killed by Odysseus.  He is aided by Eurymachus, another important suitor.

Odysseus’ faithful swine-herd who plays an important part in assisting Odysseus to regain power, he is a caring man who offers hospitality to Odysseus when he is disguised as a beggar.

She is a devoted old nurse of Odysseus and Penelope and is first to recognize her master on his return.

Helen was the daughter of Leda and Zeus and she became the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, Agamemnon’s brother. Being the daughter of Zeus, she was immortal.  Zeus mated with Leda in the guise of a swan and Helen was hatched from and egg and brought up as a member of the royal family of Sparta.  Menelaus and Helen were initially very happy, but Paris the heir of King Priam of Troy visited Sparta and with the help of Aphrodite the goddess of love, gained Helen’s affection.  Stealing part of Menelaus’ treasury, the pair eloped.  Agamemnon assembled a great army to aid his brother, and they held siege to the city of Troy for ten years. Helen’s beauty was unsurpassed and hence the saying, ‘The face that launched a thousand ships’.  

Throughout her stay in Troy, Helen was treated as a proper wife and not a mistress.  After the fall of Troy, Helen and Menelaus were reconciled and apparently lived happily ever after.

He is the aged father of Odysseus who leads a private life on a small farm in the hills of Ithaca. He remains active and in good physical shape, despite his age.

King of Sparta and husband of Helen, it is Menelaus’ brother Agamemnon that organizes the expedition to Troy.  He engages in single combat with Paris with a view to settling the dispute between the Greeks and Trojans. He won the battle, but was prevented from killing his rival by the intervention of Aphrodite. She owed Paris a debt because he judged her more beautiful than Hera and Athena.  His reward was to receive the love of Helen who was the most beautiful woman on earth.  Menelaus has a similar experience to Odysseus on his return from Troy, as he too experiences a series of misadventures on the return voyage. When Menelaus died, he went to live in the Elysian fields with his immortal Helen.

He is a faithful friend of Odysseus and tutor to Telemachus, Odysseus’ son.  Athena often disguised herself as Mentor when walking among the mortals.

Daughter of King Alcinous and Queen Arete, she is a beautiful young maiden portrayed by Homer as being innocent and virtuous.  Although just in her adolescence, she is attracted to the naked Odysseus when they first meet.

King of Ithaca, son of Laertes, husband of Penelope and father of Telemachus, it is his adventure that is covered in The Odyssey.

Homer emphasizes that this hero not only has physical prowess, but also an astute brain, and it is his cunning that helps bring about the fall of Troy and the escape from Polyphemus, the Cyclops. His determination and quick thinking enable him to escape many dangers.

The wife of Odysseus, she remains loyal to her husband for nearly twenty years and is portrayed as the perfect wife and mother.  She also demonstrates that she is intelligent for she is able to ward off over one hundred suitors for a long period of time.

The son of Odysseus and Penelope, he is just entering adulthood, but is reluctant to take full responsibility for the position in his father’s household.  However, we observe a quick maturing during the final passages of the poem and he obtains the confidence to become more assertive in dealing with the suitors. It is widely thought that he married Circe.

He is the most famous of all Greek soothsayers, who was compensated by the gods for his blindness by his incredible visionary powers.  Odysseus consults with his spirit in Hades and he provides vital information concerning the dangers that await and how he can achieve success and a happy life.


He is the keeper of the winds and lives on a mysterious floating island with his wife and twelve sons and daughters. He gives Odysseus a gift which is a large leather bag containing adverse winds.

She is the daughter of Zeus and goddess of wisdom and arts.  Odysseus is her favorite mortal and she is always a guiding influence and spirit for our hero.  She represents the Odyssey’s heroine and she intercedes on Odysseus’ behalf by making representations to Zeus and the other gods. Of all the gods, she is the one that walks with the mortals most often.  She enjoys an interesting relationship with Odysseus and one feels that only she can offer him true understanding and companionship, especially when separated from his wife Penelope.

A sea-nymph who ensnares Odysseus for nine years hoping to make him her husband, she offers him immortality, but Odysseus resists the life of being her captured pet.  Although Odysseus succumbs to Calypso’s advances, he is never ensnared by her. He remains spiritually faithful to his wife.

She is an enchantress who transforms some of Odysseus’ crew into swine.  With the aid of a herb supplied by the gods, Odysseus is able to repel Circe who then takes him as a lover and eventually helps him on his voyage home.

He is the messenger of the gods and son of Zeus. One of his duties is to conduct the souls of the dead to Hades.  It is he who carries Zeus’ message to Calypso ordering her to release Odysseus.

The sun god who travels through the sky on a fiery chariot, Hyperion has charge of the sacred animals belonging to the gods. His herd of cattle is despoiled by Odysseus’ men and they are punished for their sacrilege.

He is a one-eyed giant Cyclops who holds Odysseus and his men captive in a cave.  He is the son of Poseidon.


He is the younger brother of Zeus and god of the sea and earthquakes.  Poseidon bears Odysseus a grudge because he blinded his son Polyphemus.  Because Odysseus has to travel home by ship, he is at the mercy of this god’s wrath. Despite the obstacles he puts in Odysseus’ path, he overcomes all these challenges and in doing so, Odysseus becomes a favorite of the other gods, and therefore Poseidon’s hatred of Odysseus mellows.

This is a six-headed sea monster that lives in a cavern in the Strait of Messina where there is also a whirlpool that drives ships within reach of her lair. She was once a beautiful sea-nymph who was loved by Zeus and Poseidon, but was changed by the jealous Circe into a snapping monster.  She manages to kill six of Odysseus’ crew as he passes through the Straits.

These were beautiful sea-nymphs who charmed sailors by their alluring songs. Odysseus has to sail past these temptresses, and he has his men stop their ears with wax.  He is bound to the mast so that he can hear their magical song without being lured away.

He is the father of the gods and King of Olympus, and he tries to act in a neutral manner concerning the affairs of the mortals. It is he that gives Athena permission to help Odysseus to return home.

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