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Book 5 ~ Calypso

Od. is held captive on Calypso's island for 7 yrs so Athena goes to Zeus and asks him to set Od. free. Zeus sends Hermes to tell Calypso to free Odysseus so he can go home to Ithica, who then helps and hinders him - gives him food and stuff to build a raft.OdysseusStart = weak, sensitive and wanting to go home to wife and son.Unloyal - sleeps with calypsoIn middle = worried and self-pittyingEnd = determined and shows endurance.Divine InterventionAthena goes to Zues at start.

Posiedon creates storm for Od. as he blinded his son Polythemus

Athena calms the storm and puts him in direction of Phaecians

Odysseus shelters under olive tree at end = Athena

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Athena in Book 5

How does Athena help in book 5?

  • Gains permission from Zeus to free Od.
  • Calms Poseidon's storm + puts in right direction - doesn't directly help but pushes him along
  • Saves from drowning - gives Od. idea to hold onto rock
  • Associated witth olives - olive branch at end
  • Causes Od. to fall asleep to help his pain
  • Starts and ends book

More helped than hindered. Altough goddesses help, don't do it directly as Od. has to realise they are helping. Begin to understand him - weak and needs women. However we sympathise that he is going through a lot.

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Book 6 ~ Nausicaa

Athena takes form as Nausicaa's friend in her dream and tells her it's time to marry and to go and wash her clothes at the streams.

She goes there looking beautiful and frind Odysseus naked but Athena gives her courage to talk to him.

Nausicaa is touched by his story and gets her maids to bathe him.

Athena makes him good-looking.

Nausicaa falls in love with him and gives Od. directions to the palace where he will meet the Phaecians.

Then tells him to follow servnants to town.

Od. meets her mother and begs for mercy.

Od. asks Athena for luck.

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Odysseus and Divine intervention in Book 6


At start is cunning and maipulates Nausicaa by getting her to pity him so she can help him get home. He is weak at first and is still relying on women.

Divine Intervention

Athena makes Odysseus good-looking and is subtly hinted with bath oil that was used to bathe Od. Athena puts courage in Nausicaa. She opens chapter by making Nausicaa meet Odysseus and ends it with Odysseus praying to her

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Book 9 ~ story telling

Two of his man eat the lotus flower, making them forget about homecoming. Odysseus drags them back on the ship.

Then arrive at Cyclopse land where Od. and 12 of his men go into a cave and make themselves at home.

Plythemus finds them and eats two of the men, then another two and traps rest in cave with a boulder.

Od. gave the cyclopse wine and it fell asleep - he then shoved a stake in its eye, blinding it.

Poly calls out for help, announcing 'noman' hurt him - Od. said this was his name.

Od. and his men escape under the cyclopses sheep, and he taunts the monster - so poly curses them with his father. They then sail to Aeolia.

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Odysseus and Divine intervention in book 9


At start shows good leadership + loyalty to men by dragging his men back on the ship. Also shows bad leadership - sends men on island without going himself - puts them in danger. He is also greedy when they get to the cyclopse wanting food and shelter, but is cunning in his plan of escaping Polly. But then ruins it by taunting him and getting a curse.

Divine Intervention

Athena subtly intervenes - says she must have helped with the thick fog. and Does this again in Odysseus's escape - uses olive wood bowl.

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Book 10

Get to Aeolia and stay with Aeolus for a month, who then gives them a bag of winds to help them get to Ithica.

Sail for 9 days then Od. falls asleep. Men think its a bag of treasure, open it and blows them back to Aeolia. Aeolus thinks the Gods hate Od. so turns him down.

The reach Laestrygonians who ate most of the men. Then reach Circe's island. Od. sends men to explore who then get turned into pigs by Cire the witch. Eurylochus tells Od.

Heremes comes to Od. and gives him moly to make him immune to Circe's magic. Then he goes to her and threatens her, and she tries to turn him into pig but doesn't work, frightening her and then she turns the men back to people.

Circe tells Od. to go to a specific place to sacrifce a sheep and then Tiresias will tell him what to do.

Elpenor gets drunk and falls off the roof.

Od. tells men of their upcoming journey to the underworld

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Odysseus and Divine intervention in book 10


Puts men in danger of Laestrygonians, sends men out to an unknown island (Circe's) and risking their lives, Cunning - saves men from Circe but then is unloyal to wife as he sleeps with her.

Divine Intervention

Aeolus gives the bag of winds and Hermese also helps Odysseus on Circe's island

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Book 12 ~ last book

  • Buries Elpinor
  • Circe tells their journey - 1. Sirens who sing you to death - put earwax in mens ears 2. Scylla - 6 headed monster or 3. charybdis the whirlpool - Circe advises 2 instead of 3 - better to lost 6 men than everyone
  • They sail away and do as Circe said at Sirens - Odysseus didn't tell his men about Scylla and Charybdis so not to scare them
  • Scylla at 6 men and then they got to Island of the sun - Od. tells men to oath not to kill any cattle, but because they are there for a month due to a storm, they go against him.
  • Helios asks Zeus and other Gods to punish Odysseus and when they set off, Zeuz sets a storm killing all men but Od.
  • The winds drove Odysseus over to Charybdis but saved himself by holding onto Fig tree branch
  • He then gets to Calypso's island and Odysseus stops his story here as he has already told the events after this.
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Odysseus and Devine intervention in book 12


Is brave


Shows kindness and good leadership in the burial, and also is cunning in not telling his men about scylla as it could have stopped them going through with the plan and him inevitabley going home.

Devine Intervention

Zeus is the main god to intervene - hindering Odysseus when he is in his ship and killing all his men.

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Overview of the whole story

  • Odysseus is forced to fight in the Trojan war for 10 years
  • Comes up with the trick of the wooden horse, meaning the Greeks win
  • Starts to go home but has problems and ends up on Calypso's island
  • Then at Scherie - Nausicaa and tells his flashbacks - 1) cincones 2) lotus eaters 3) cyclops 4) Aeolus 5) Laestrygonians 6) Circe etc
  • Alcinous gives Ody. ride home and Athena disguises him as a beggar
  • Now been away 19 years & in the last 4, suitors try to marry Penelope his wife who refuses
  • Suitors move in until she agrees
  • The then decide to kill his son until Ody. returns and is furious, killing them and and reuniting with his son and wife.
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Notes on Odysseus' character

  • Strong, couragous, noble, cunning
  • Good speaker - convincing and can win over and manipulate his audiece, e.g. Nausicaa
  • Has nostos and kleos on his mind
  • favoured by Gods and respected and admired by mortals
  • living in a series of contradictions - a much more complicated character than we would expect to find in the stereotypical epic hero
  • Prepared to lie, cheat and steal if it means getting closer to victory, but curiosity can get the better of him - e.g. cyclops and sirens
  • Grows in wisdom and judgement, but still needs help throught the books
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