The Odyssey Summary

Summary of the whole book with key quotes explained.

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  • Created on: 14-05-12 17:25
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Book 14: The Telemachy
Book 1
Story begins 10 years after end of Trojan war
Odysseus is on the remote island of Ogygia with goddess Calypso
A mob of suitors are eating Telemachus and Penelope `out of house and home'
in the hope of marrying Penelope
With the consent of Zeus, Athena travels to Ithaca to speak with Telem
Assuming the form of Mentes, she predicts Oddy is alive and will return soon
She tells Telem to call suitor and announce their banishment and to then journey
to Pylos and Sparta to ask of news of Oddy.
Telem find Penelope crying over a song of Troy and rebukes her and sends her
to bed.
Telem tells the suitors of the meeting and is rebuked by Antinous and
Eurymachus who ask the identity of Athena.
Book 2
Assembly meets the next day. Aegyptius, a wise elder praises Telem for
stepping into his father's shoes.
Telem gives speech and laments the loss of his father and home & the suitors
Antinous blame Penelope who `seduces' ever suitor but won't commit to one
Story of burial shroud ­ undid it each night so it would never be finished
Antinous suggests she be sent back to Icarius ­ Telem rebukes him
A pair of eagles locked in combat appears over head ­ sign of Oddy's imminent
Telem is preparing for his trip to Pylos & Sparta when Athena visits him again,
this time disguised as Mentor. She predicts his journey will be fruitful.
She then set out and collects him a crew.
Telem only tells Eurycleia of his departure.
Book 3
At Pylos, Telem and Mentor witness a religious ceremony to Poseidon. Mentor
gives Telem the courage to approach Nestor, who unfortunately has no news of
Nestor tells the story of the falling out between Menelaus & Agamemnon.
He says he's heard about the suitors and hope that Telem will achieve the
defence of his father that Orestes, son of Agamemnon won in defence of his
Cue story of Orestes and Clytemnestra
Nestor sends his son Pisistratus to accompany Telem to Sparta
Athene change into an eagle before the court and protects Telem's ship

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Book 4
In Sparta, Menelaus & Helen are celebrating the marriages of their son &
They greet the travellers, and Helen recognises Telem.
They recount the cunning of Oddy ­ him dressing as a beggar and the Trojan
horse.…read more

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It happened in Egypt" ­ story within a story
586: "do stay on" ­ Menelaus invites Telem to stay, offering him gifts (Xenia). Telem
has the confidence to turn down the offer of fine gorses.
611: "you have the right blood in your veins" ­ Menelaus recognises Telem's
Lines 625847: Telem is now anxious to get back to Ithaca. The scene suddenly
changes to Ithaca and suitors. They have been told about Telem's trip and Antinous is
livid.…read more

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Lines 149268: Calypso finds Oddy weeping. She tells him to prepare a boat. She
offers him immortality but he refuses as he wants to go home. Oddy builds a boat, and
provisioned, sets sail.
155: "true he had to sleep with her...of necessity...against his will" ­
Homer establishes Oddy's loyalty to Penelope
172: "Goddess...…read more

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The next morning, Nausicaa and her mains are playing ball and Oddy wakes up
and encounters them
He asks for their assistance but doesn't reveal his identity
Oddy washes and Athena makes him look handsome so Naus falls in love
Naus gives Oddy direction to palace and advice on how to approach Arete
With a prayer to Athena for hospitality, Oddy set out for the palace.…read more

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Arete recognises clothes and interrogates him. Oddy recounts journey from
Calypso's island to meeting Nausicaa. Alcinous offers Oddy Nausicaa's hand in
Lines 178: Oddy met by Athena in disguise who protects him in a thick mist. Oddy
asks the way and Athena leads, warning him not to talk to the locals. Athena stresses
the importance of wining over Arete. She departs for Athens.
15: "in her concern for his welfare" ­ Athena comes to the aid of Oddy.…read more

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Alcinous proposes a ship. There is a feast and games in honour of Oddy
Blind bard Demodocus sings of a quarrel between Oddy and Achilles at Troy ­
Oddy weeps. Feast ends, games begin
Oddy asked to participate, by he declines. Young athlete insults him. Oddy easily
win discus toss and challenges any other athlete to any other competition
Phaeacian youth entertain.
Each of the young Phaeacian men give Oddy gifts to take home.…read more

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Lines 421586: Gifts are brought and put in chest. Oddy has a bath. Nausicaa looks
on, which Oddy luck. Oddy requests Demodocus sings about wooden gorse. Oddy
weeps ­ Alcinous calls for an end and asks Oddy who he is.
486: "Demodocus, I admire you above all men" ­ Homer bigging up poets
again? Oddy hints he was at Troy.
523: "He wept as a woman" ­ longest simile in poem. Oddy's sadness at
story. Image of a wife/moth unable to change her fate.…read more

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Lines 105169: Oddy reaches an isolated island cloe to land of Cyclopes. The men
explore this island the next day, feasting and drinking.
106: "the cyclopes, a fierce, lawless people" ­ live in isolation from each
other. They have no assemblies or laws and live in caves. Lack of civilisation.
160: "but to me alone" ­ the extra goat is a mark of Oddys Kleos.
Lines 170230: Oddy sails his ship to the mainland, taking some men and some wine.…read more

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Cyclopes com to investigate he says "It's Nobody's treachery!". They assume it's Zeus
and they leave.
384: "like a man boring a ship's timber" ­ striking similie ­ an axe hisses
when a smith puts it in water ­ sizzling eyeball.
408: "It's Nobody's treachary!" ­ the trick Oddy set up earliter.
Lines 415472: Poly moves the rock and feels for Oddy and his men. They make their
escape under the bellies of Poly's flock ­ the flee and set sail.…read more


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