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The Odyssey Notes
Book 5- Calypso
Athena calls a meeting of the god to discuss Odysseus' situation
As a result, Zeus commands Hermes to tell Calypso to let Odysseus to go back to Ithaca. However, there are
a set of conditions:
o No god will help him
o He will make a raft and after 20 days of hardship on sea he will reach the land of the Phaeacians who
will take him to their hearts and will escort him home in a ship with more treasure than he had won in
Troy (Ilium).
It is also found that Athena was also responsible for Odysseus' misfortune
After hearing Zeus' command from Hermes, Calypso decided to let Odysseus go, however she will not help
him and will only him a little help in making his raft and will give him to direction to the land of the Phaeacians.
However, Odysseus did not trust her and made her swear an oath that she is not planning any mischief to
which she agrees and takes an oath.
Calypso goes and tells Odysseus that he can go back home and helps him in preparing for his journey by :
o Giving him an axe and an adze
o Told him where to find the trees
o Gave him boring tools to fit his raft
o Gave him cloth for the sail
o Sends him a wind
o Gave him food and wine (two skins in his boat one of dark wine and the other of water, a leather sack
of grain and quantities of meat) for his journey.
He made his raft in 4 days and on the 5th he was going to sail. When he was getting ready Calypso gave him
directions to the Phaeacian land (stay on his left) and also gave send him a wind.
For 17 days he sailed and on the 18th he spotted the land and that is when Poseidon (on his way back from
Ethiopia) saw him and sent him a storm.
Poseidon seized his trident and stirred up the seas. The sea and the land were covered in a canopy of clouds
and darkness covered the sea. He made all the winds clash together.
First the rudder of the raft was torn; he was tossed into the sea. The mast snapped into 2 pieces and the sail
was flung far out to the sea.
Ino of the slim ankles (Leucothe) pitied him and gave him help:
o She told him to take of his clothes and leave the raft and then swim towards the land
o She then gave him her veil and told him to tie around his waist as it will protect him from danger
o Once he reached land, he should undo the veil and throw it out into the sea.
He was thinking over what to do when he was thrown off the raft by a wave sent by Poseidon.
Once in water, he what Ino told him to do. Poseidon left and then Athena came in to help Odysseus:
o She helped him by checking that all the winds are in their course and calmed them down.
o She then summoned the North wind which flattened the waves in Odysseus' path.
Odysseus then swam for 2 days and 2 nights and on the 3rg day he spotted land.
He then saw a rocky coast and was scared that he might die but while he was debating what to do a huge
wave swept him forward towards the coast but he survived it as Athena put an idea in his mind to grab hold
on the rock with both hands as the wave swept him.
He then entered a stream and as he approached the river's mouth he prayed to the river god to help him and
in response, the river checked its currents and help its waves back and made the water smooth in his path.
Once in land, Odysseus:
o United the veil and threw it into the river
o He did not want to sleep as he was afraid that he might become a prey to a wild animal
o He then crept under two bushes and made himself a bed using dry leaves and then lied in the middle
and covered himself with a blanket of leaves.
After this, Athena sent him to sleep.


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