The Odyssey

Odysseus’ character:

·      When we first meet Odysseus we see that he cares about his home, family, is loyal and emotional. Shows that you don’t have to be masculine to be a hero as when we meet him he is crying.

·      From a modern perspective the fact that he sleeps with other women, shows that he wasn’t a loyal husband.

·      When Calypso says that she thinks she is  prettier than his wife, he responds by saying that she can’t be as pretty as her because Calypso is immortal. He is being wise, because Calypso is trying to make him stay.

·      Calypso offers him immortality, and the fact that he turns it down shows he is loyal to his family.

·      In description of building his raft we see that he is resourceful because he doesn’t have the proper equipment to build it.

·      When he sails, he doesn’t fall asleep; therefore, we see that he is determined.

·      We see he is liked by many of the gods, apart from Poseidon.

·      He thinks situations through e.g. listening to Ino or not because he doesn’t know whether to trust her.

·      Odysseus is suspicious of Calypso when she offers him food clothes and good winds, showing he is cautious and perceptive.


Calypso's character

      Described as ‘lovely’, ‘divine’ and ‘beautiful’, shown when she believes herself, that she is far prettier than Odysseus’ wife.

     She followed the rules of xenia in the sense that she was very hospitable to Odysseus by bathing and feeding him, but isn’t because she wouldn’t let him go.

      We also abides by the rules of xenia when she welcomes Hermes into her home and says to him he is an “honoured and welcomed guest”.

      She will not succumb to any demands without a fight, this is shown when she competently argues for Odysseus to stay.

      She causes tension for the reader, because you never know whether she will ever set Odysseus free.

      Injects comedy to the book for the reader, because her obsession with Odysseus is laughable.

      She displays her disliking to the hierarchy of the immortals.

      She bathes, makes love and feeds Odysseus.

      She tries to take advantage of her powers when she tries to offer Odysseus immortality.

      She is blindly inlove as she can’t understand why Odysseus doesn’t want to live with her.

      The fact that she gives Odysseus boring tools to build his raft shows how inlove she is and also shows that she is stubborn because she doesn’t want him to leave so quickly.

      Odysseus is suspicious of Calypso when she offers him food clothes and good winds, this shows that she is not always trust worthy.

      She tries to scare Odysseus by saying “Though if your heart knew the depths of anguish you are fated to suffer before you reach home”. Although this shows how much she cares about him.

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Book 5

·       Odysseus’ shipwrecked on the island of Ogygia, where Calypso lives, and has been trapped here for 7 years.

·       After Athene asking her father, Zeus to set Odysseus free, Zeus asks Hermes, the messenger God, to tell Calypso to set him free.

·       When Hermes arrives on the island of Ogygia, Calypso offers him xenia.

·       When Hermes delivers the bad news to Calypso she is reluctant to let him go but does it because she wouldn’t want to anger the gods. However she says that she won’t help him build his raft.

·       Homer goes into a lot of detail when describing how Odysseus built his raft so that the reader can understand how long and hard it is to build a raft, and Homer elongates this passage to give the reader an insight to how long it would take to build a raft and emphasizes how strong Odysseus is. 

        Before Odysseus leaves Calypso shows him where the best trees are for building a raft . Provides him with an axe and boring tools. Provides cloth for the sail. Provides provisions for the voyage – bread, wine, water, grain, meats and clothes . Causes a favourable wind to arise when he is about to leave her island. Gives advice about sailing by the stars. 

    Odysseus sails for seventeen days with no trouble; then Poseidon catches sight of him and sends a storm; that wrecks his raft;   Odysseus thinks he will drown;  he’s helped by Ino The goddess Ino helps Odysseus because she felt sorry for him. She used to be mortal so she empathized with him.  

    Ino appears and offers him a veil which will keep him safe. Ino tells him to take off Calypso’s clothes to prevent him from drowning. Odysseus eventually decides to follow her advice because he is desperate. Athene calms the storm and summons the North wind to flatten the waves. Odysseus weighs up options of the most viable place to land. Athene advises him to grab hold of a rock and to swim further along. Odysseus’ prayer to the river god is successful as the waters are calmed. 

    Odysseus can swim and then stumble ashore; he goes to sleep under some olive bushes.

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Book 6

  ·       Athene visits Nausicaa in disguise, in a dream, and manages to persuade Nausicaa that she needs to wash her clothes the next morning so that men would find her attractive, and this is where Odysseus is. ·       The next morning Nausicaa has little trouble persuading her parents to lend her the wagon, and give her food, wine, dirty clothing to launder, and oil to work into their bodies after their immersion. ·       The party goes down to the washing pool where they put the garments in the bubbling water, stomp on them to remove dirt, and then lay them out on the pebbly beach to dry. They eat and toss around a ball to pass time while the clothing dries. Nausicaa is about to fold and put away the clothing when Odysseus is awakened by the noises. He wonders where he has landed. ·       Odysseus then walks out of the bushes hiding his private parts. He debates whether to supplicate her but doesn’t. ·       All of Nausicaa’s friends were scared of Odysseus, but Athene gave Nausicaa courage and she then helps him. ·       Odysseus speculates that she might be a goddess, perhaps Artemis. He then explains that he had been at sea for 20 days, troubled by the god Poseidon, and had only just left the sea yesterday. He asks Nausicaa for some clothing and directions to town. ·       She tells her attendants not to be afraid. The gods love Phaeacia too much to do it harm. She tells them to bathe the stranger in the river. They give him clothing and the oil flask. He asks them to go away so he can bathe. ·       Then Nausicaa packs up the wagon and tells Odysseus to follow behind. To prevent scandal, she tells Odysseus to stop at a grove that is sacred to Athena. He is to wait until she has a chance to get into the palace. Only then should he come out. He should then enter the city, find the palace, and search Nausicaa's mother because if Nausicaa's mother likes him, all will go well and he'll be able to get what he needs to go home again.

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Book 7

      On his way to the palace of Alcinous, the king of the Phaeacians, Odysseus is stopped by a young girl who is Athena in disguise. She offers to guide him to the king’s house and shrouds him in a protective mist that keeps the Phaeacians, a kind but somewhat xenophobic people, from harassing him.

       She also advises him to direct his plea for help to Arete, the wise and strong queen who will know how to get him home. Once Athena has delivered Odysseus to the palace, she departs from Scheria to her beloved city of Athens.

       Odysseus finds the palace residents holding a festival in honor of Poseidon. He is struck by the splendor of the palace and the king’s opulence. As soon as he sees the queen, he throws himself at her feet, and the mist about him dissipates.

       At first, the king wonders if this wayward traveler might be a god, but without revealing his identity, Odysseus puts the king’s suspicions to rest by declaring that he is indeed a mortal.

       Later that evening, when the king and queen are alone with Odysseus, the wise Arete recognizes the clothes that he is wearing as ones that she herself had made for her daughter Nausicaa.

       Suspicious, she interrogates Odysseus further. While still withholding his name, Odysseus responds by recounting the story of his journey from Calypso’s island and his encounter with Nausicaa that morning, which involved her giving him a set of clothes to wear.

       To absolve the princess for not accompanying him to the palace, Odysseus claims that it was his idea to come alone. Alcinous is so impressed with his visitor that he offers Odysseus his daughter’s hand in marriage.

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Book 9

       The king Odysseus is talking to is Alcinous and he still doesn’t know his name. Odysseus is retelling what he has been through.

       The Cicones live in the city of Ismarus. The men plunder the land and, carried away by greed, stay until the reinforced ranks of the Cicones turn on them and attack. Odysseus and his crew finally escape, having lost six men per ship. Ody insisted on saluting with a ritual call to the comrades who had died before they left.

       It took them ten days to reach the land of the lotus-eaters. He sent his comrades out to find things out instead of him. The comrades who went were given a drug that made them want to stay on the island of the Lotus-eaters. “So we left that country and sailed with heavy hearts

       They then arrive on the island of the Cyclops, who are very lazy people. As soon as Odysseus and his men reached the island they fell asleep. Odysseus and his men set into three parties. They got their mellow wine from their ships (left over from the Cicones)

       There they immediately come upon a cave full of sheep and crates of milk and cheese. The men advise Odysseus to ****** some of the food and hurry off, but, to his and his crew’s detriment, he decides to linger.

       Polyphemus makes a show of hospitality at first, but he soon turns hostile. He devours two of Odysseus’s men on the spot and imprisons Odysseus and the rest in his cave for future meals.

      Ody offers the Cyclops wine in the attempt to get him drunk. The Cyclops unusually starts being nice to Odysseus. Ody calls the Cyclops a fool because he kept on drinking loads of wine, unknowingly that it would get him very drunk. The wine makes him very drunk, very quickly because he only drank milk.

       Ody tells the Cyclopes that his name is “Nobody”.  The Cyclopes’ response makes it comical for the reader because he said that he would “eat Nobody last”.

       The Cyclopes collapsed onto the floor and vomited. Ody puts stake in the fire to make it hotter. We are not told which God inspired them because it is Ody narrating the story at this point. Ody said that “his eyeball blazed and the very roots crackled in the flame.”

       Polythemus says “ it’s nobody’s treachery, not violence, that is doing me to death”, so then Ody doesn’t get in trouble.  The cyclopses react by getting annoyed with Polythemus.

       Polythemus opens the cave door to let his goats out. Ody didn’t go out of the cave when Polythemus was expecting him to.

       Ody’s new plan was to exit the cave by curling himself under the shaggy belly of three rams and to lie there upside down until out of the cave. Each of his men did this; however, there wasn’t enough rams for him to hide under so he hid under a full grown one instead.

       Polyphemus noticed that the full grown ram was the last one to leave his cage. Ody uses nods and frowns because he doesn’t want Polythemus to hear him. They took the sheep.

       Ody shouts out to Polythemus letting him know that he got away. Polythemus reacted by hurling the top off a great pinnacle of rock at Ody and his men. This moved their ship closer to the beach. all of his men restrained and pacified him saving him from another rock Polythemus could throw at them. Ody reveals his name, his father and where he lives.

       Ody mocks Polythemus by saying that he believes he will go to hell. Poly prays to Poseidon asking that he makes sure that Ody never gets home.

       The next rock Polythemus throws helps Ody and his men get closer to the island they were going towards.

       Ody’s crew honour him by letting him sacrifice the full grown ram. Ody dedicated the sacrifice to Zeus. Zeus took no notice of the sacrifice because of what he did to Polythemus.

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