Odyssey - Book 12 Summary

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  • Created by: z
  • Created on: 06-04-10 18:19
  • The men return to the island of Circe where they bury Elpenor’s body, with an oar sticking out of the grave. Circe feeds the men and then lies down with Odysseus. She warns him of the dangers he will face.
  • First there will be the Sirens who lure men. He should put wax in his men’s ears and if he wants to listen, he should have the men bind him to a mast until they have sailed past the Sirens.
  • He will then face dangerous rocks that the waves push ships against.
  • First are the Planctae. Not even doves flying can get past them. Only the Argo has successfully passed them, and that only with the help of Hera.
  • Then there are two facing cliffs. One is very high and sheer as ice. There is a cave in the middle of it where Scylla lives and howls. Scylla has 3 rows of teeth in each of her 6 heads. She sticks her heads out in order to fish. No ship passes without losing men to each of her heads.
  • The other cliff is shorter, with a fig tree under which lives Charybdis. Charybdis, worse than a storm god, swallows so much water the land is revealed. She does this three times a day and three times a day she throws it up.Circe says Odysseus should stay close to Scylla because then he will lose only 6 men. Odysseus asks if there isn't some way to avoid losing the men. Circe advises him that Scylla is an immortal evil. If he tries to attack, she'll take the time to eat another six men.
  • Next Odysseus will reach the island of Thrinacia where the cattle and sheep of the sun god, Helios (Hyperion), pasture. If Odysseus and his men leave them unharmed they will reach Ithaca. Otherwise, they may all die, or Odysseus alone will survive and return home but…


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