The Odyssey

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Odysseus Character Analysis

King of Ithaca, husband of Penelope, and father of Telemachus, former commander in the Trojan War, Odysseus is the flawed, beloved hero of this tale of homecoming and revenge. His character is deeply contradictory: he is both a cunning champion and a plaything of the gods, a wise commander and a vainglorious braggart. After the Trojan War, which left him swollen with pride and fame, Odysseus seeks adventure on his way home; but the journey brings much defeat and humiliation, and the Odysseus that lands on the shores of Ithaca is a humbler, wiser man, more pious and reserved. As longing for adventure wanes, homesickness grows; the strictures of honor replace the demands of glory. Only when Odysseus learns to yield some control of his fate to the gods can he take charge of his life and bring peace to his household.

Odysseus Quotes in The Odyssey

The The Odyssey quotes below are all either spoken by Odysseus or refer to Odysseus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of The Odyssey published in 1996.
Book 5 Quotes

Outrageous! Look how the gods have changed their minds
about Odysseus – while I was off with my Ethiopians.
Just look at him there, nearing Phaeacia's shores
where he's fated to escape his noose of pain
that's held him until now. Still my hopes ride high –
I'll give that man his swamping fill of trouble!

Related Characters: Poseidon (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 5.315-320
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Homer firmly establishes the antagonism between Odysseus and Poseidon. Odysseus has disrespected Poseidon by, among other things, blinding his son Polyphemus. Poseidon has vowed to wage war against Odysseus, making his journey back to Ithaca extremely challenging.

And yet, the passage shows, Poseidon is only one god out of many. Many of the other gods on Olympus support Odysseus in his quest to journey home. The indeterminacy of the gods' support for Odysseus (i.e., the fact that some of the gods support him and others don't, and all of them are fickle and likely to change their minds) suggests that the result of Odysseus's journey is not predetermined, unless it is by a power higher than the gods themselves--fate, or perhaps the mysterious divine figures of "the Fates." But because of this ambiguity regarding destiny, it's suggested that Odysseus will have to use his own ingenuity and strength to get home, recognizing that insofar as he's in control of his destiny, he must act in the right way in order to succeed.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Odyssey quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

Three, four times blessed, my friends-in-arms
who died on the plains of Troy those years ago,
serving the sons of Atreus to the end. Would to god
I'd died there too and met my fate that day ….
A hero's funeral then, my glory spread by comrades –
now what a wretched death I'm doomed to die!

Related Characters: Odysseus (speaker)
Page Number: 5.338-445
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Odysseus nearly drowns, thanks to the plotting of Poseidon, the god of the sea. Odysseus thinks that he's going to die in the middle of the sea, and wishes that he could have died on the battlefields of Troy instead.

It's important to understand why Odysseus would have preferred to die in Troy, as he declares in this monolgue. Odysseus still abides by the unwritten code of honor and glory: there is no better way for a man to die than on the battlefield, fighting for his people--and it's even better if the story of his death is then retold and glorified to others. To die on the middle of the sea is undignified, even feminine: Odysseus wishes his death could have been a major spectacle, witnessed by his followers and spread throughout Greece.

But there's another reason why Odysseus wishes he could have died in Troy: Odysseus can't stand the agony of almost making it back home. For Odysseus, one torture of the Trojan War was being separated from his wife and child--and now, he's eager to return to them. Poseidon wages psychological warfare on Odysseus by allowing him to get close to Ithaca, but not actually letting him make it home. Odysseus can't bear his own nostalgia and homesickness.

Book 6 Quotes

But here's an unlucky wanderer strayed our way,
and we must tend him well. Every stranger and beggar
comes from Zeus.

Related Characters: Nausicaa (speaker), Odysseus, Zeus
Page Number: 6.226-228
Explanation and Analysis:

Nausicaa, a princess, stumbles upon the body of Odysseus, who's been washed ashore after a horrible storm. While Nausicaa's maids and serving girls run away from Odysseus, a male stranger, Nausicaa is not afraid. Indeed, she orders her attendants to take care of Odysseus. Nausicaa's explanation for her kindness is interesting: all wanderers come from Zeus.

Nausicaa embodies the morality of the ancient world: hospitality is a sacred law, and a good host must provide food and shelter for wanderer, recognizing that all human beings (and gods) deserve respect and welcome. Nausicaa alludes to her common humanity with Odysseus: while they may be very different, they're both human beings, and therefore the creations of Zeus. (Her statement may also be a reference to the myth of Baucis and Philemon, a poor old couple who took in Zeus himself when he was disguised as a beggar, and were richly rewarded for doing so.) Also notice that Nausicaa agrees to take care of Odysseus before she's aware that he's a king of Ithaca--her generosity is motivated by a selfless respect for other people, not a desire to please a king. (It's also possible that Nausicaa has a crush on Odysseus, as Athena has enchanted him to look beautiful.)

Book 7 Quotes

The belly's a shameless dog, there's nothing worse.
Always insisting, pressing, it never lets us forget –
destroyed as I am, my heart racked with sadness,
sick with anguish, still it keeps demanding,
‘Eat, drink!' It blots out all the memory
of my pain, commanding, ‘Fill me up!'

Related Characters: Odysseus (speaker)
Related Symbols: Food, Food
Page Number: 7.251-257
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Odysseus speaks to King Alcinous. Alcinous is suspicious that Odysseus is really a god in human form, or perhaps a nobleman from a faraway land. Odysseus insists that he's just a common man. To prove his point, Odysseus make a big show of being hungry for more food: he claims that his greatest desire in life is the desire of his stomach.

Odysseus's speech is ironic, since his real desire (the desire that has motivated him to travel for so many years) is a desire to return to his wife and family. But Odysseus is clever enough to conceal his true name and background from the people of the kingdom: instead of introducing himself as a king, he pretends to be a commoner.

It's worth asking why, exactly, Odysseus doesn't reveal himself to be a king right away--he's among friends, after all. First, Odysseus has had some rough experiences before, and he's learned the hard way to keep secrets from other people, no matter how friendly they appear to be. Second, Odysseus loves to lie and deceive: he thinks of lying as "practice" for a more serious deception in the future.

Book 8 Quotes

The gods don't hand out all their gifts at once,
not build and brains and flowing speech to all.
One man may fail to impress us with his looks
but a god can crown his words with beauty, charm,
and men look on with delight when he speaks out.
Never faltering, filled with winning self-control,
he shines forth at assembly grounds and people gaze
at him like a god when he walks through the streets.
Another man may look like a deathless one on high
but there's not a bit of grace to crown his words.

Related Characters: Odysseus (speaker)
Page Number: 8.193-202
Explanation and Analysis:

Odysseus is here goaded into competing with the talented athletes of Nausicaa's kingdom. Odysseus is initially reluctant to compete in athletic events of any kind, because he wants to conceal his excellence--he's afraid that the others will deduce that he's a king. Odysseus modestly claims that he's not good at everything: after all, people who are good at talking aren't necessarily good at sports.

Odysseus's words are highly ironic, since he's a hero: an all-around "good man." Odysseus is a clever speaker, a talented warrior, a great leader, a fantastic athlete, and a handsome man, too. Indeed, James Joyce commented that Odysseus was the most "complete man" in all of Western literature: a father, a son, a husband, a warrior, a poet. In short, Odysseus embodies more human virtues than just about anyone else--but here he feels he must restrain those virtues, and cover them with a vague speech about how "no one's perfect."

Book 9 Quotes

Calypso the lustrous goddess tried to hold me back,
deep in her arching caverns, craving me for a husband.
So did Circe, holding me just as warmly in her halls,
the bewitching queen of Aeaea keen to have me too.
But they never won the heart inside me, never.
So nothing is as sweet as a man's own country.

Related Characters: Odysseus (speaker), Calypso, Circe
Page Number: 9.33-38
Explanation and Analysis:

At the beginning of this book, Odysseus introduces himself as a lover of his own country, and his own wife (Penelope). Odysseus reinforces his loyalty to his homeland by claiming that beautiful women like Circe and Calypso have tried to seduce him away from his family, but he always proved too strong for them. Odysseus's lust for women is nothing compared to his affection for his home: his family, his house, and his entire kingdom.

The passage is an important statement of the key theme of the poem: the importance of a home, and the memory of home. Odysseus is given many opportunities along the way back to Ithaca to live a good life: he could have stayed on Calypso's island, for example. Instead, Odysseus remembers his duty to his wife and child, and his duty to his subjects. In short, Odysseus proves himself to be a noble king by refusing to stop short of Ithaca. At the same time, Odysseus is further glorified as a hero by the fact that these goddesses, witches, and queens all fall hopelessly in love with him.

Since we've chanced on you, we're at your knees
in hopes of a warm welcome, even a guest-gift,
the sort that hosts give strangers. That's the custom.
Respect the gods, my friend. We're suppliants – at your mercy!
Zeus of the Strangers guards all guests and suppliants:
strangers are sacred – Zeus will avenge their rights!

Related Characters: Odysseus (speaker), Zeus, Polyphemus
Page Number: 9.300-305
Explanation and Analysis:

In this flashback scene, Odysseus and his crew of sailors land on the island of Polyphemus, a wicked cyclops. Odysseus asks Polyphemus to give his crew food and shelter--he even cites the unwritten laws of Zeus, which compel any host to take good care of his visitors and guests.

The passage spells out the "laws of the home" that dominate life in the ancient world. All people are religiously required to take care of their guests--doing so is a sacred duty among the Greeks, backed up by the power of almighty Zeus. Polyphemus, as we'll see, refuses to abide by Zeus's laws--and in the process, he confirms that he's not just a bad host but an evil person as well.

Book 11 Quotes

Even so, you and your crew may still reach home,
suffering all the way, if you only have the power
to curb their wild desire and curb your own.

Related Characters: Tiresias (speaker), Odysseus
Related Symbols: Food
Page Number: 11.117-119
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Tiresias urges Odysseus to obey the laws of the gods so that he and his crew can return to Ithaca alive and well. Tiresias instructs Odysseus to refrain from killing and eating the famous Oxen of the Sun, the sacred cattle of the god Helios. Tiresias warns Odysseus that if his men kill the oxen, the gods will punish them all very harshly and make their journey back to Ithaca all but impossible.

It's interesting that Tiresias frames Odysseus's challenge as a test of "wild desire." Throughout the poem, Homer will portray gluttony, lust, and other bodily sins as crimes of desire more than anything else. A true leader, it's implied, can control his desires, and those of his followers, completely: instead of giving in to hunger, thirst, lust, etc., he uses his mind and his willpower to stay strong.

I tell you this – bear it in mind, you must –
when you reach your homeland steer your ship
into port in secret, never out in the open…
the time for trusting women's gone forever!

Related Characters: Agamemnon (speaker), Odysseus, Clytemnestra
Page Number: 11.515-518
Explanation and Analysis:

In this famous passage, Odysseus visits the ghost of Agamemnon in the Underworld. Agamemnon, who has been murdered by his own wife, Clytemnestra, warns Odysseus against trusting his own wife, Penelope, too much. Agamemnon claims that married women often have affairs with other men--Penelope may have taken a lover while Odysseus was away. Thus, Agamemnon urges Odysseus to arrive on Ithaca in secret--just in case Penelope is planning to kill him.

The passage is important because it adds another layer of suspense to the story: Odysseus is trying to return to Penelope, but does Penelope want him back? By returning to Ithaca, Odysseus is hoping to return to his old life--a life of peace, love, and prosperity. But Agamemnon raises the grim possibility that Odysseus will never be able to return to his old life: his wife and child may have changed beyond all recognition.

No winning words about death to me, shining Odysseus!
By god, I'd rather slave on earth for another man –
some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive –
than rule down here over all the breathless dead.

Related Characters: Achilles (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 11.555-558
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Odysseus, still in the Underworld, visits the ghost of Achilles, who has been sent to the Underworld after being killed on the battlefield at Troy. In life, Achilles made a choice: he decided to die young in return for everlasting glory. But here, Achilles makes it clear that he regrets his own choice: if he could go back, he would choose to live a long, forgettable life, rather than surrender to death so soon.

The passage is important because it calls into question an entire code of honor. Achilles was the very embodiment of glory and honor in the Iliad, the precursor to the Odyssey. Here, Homer suggests that there's something lacking in Achilles's way of life: Achilles was too willing to sacrifice his worldly pleasure for the abstract promise of glory. Odysseus, an altogether different kind of hero, is by now less interested in glory and valor--instead of fighting and dying on the battlefield, he survives and tries to return to his home. Although Odysseus has previously wished he could have died on the battlefield, his encounter with Achilles makes him see that he should savor his home, his family, and a long life of peace. In short, the scene critiques Achilles's militaristic, aggressive way of looking at the world, and puts forth a more moderate, harmonious, and altogether modern form of heroism.

Book 12 Quotes

So stubborn! …
Hell-bent again yet again on battle and feats of arms?
Can't you bow to the deathless gods themselves?
Scylla's no mortal, she's an immortal devastation.

Related Characters: Circe (speaker), Odysseus, Scylla
Page Number: 12.125-128
Explanation and Analysis:

Odysseus has captured the witch Circe, who gives Odysseus advice for how to survive the coming dangers. Circe explains that Odysseus will have to sail past two dangers: the whirlpool known as Charybdis, and the monster known as Scylla. Odysseus believes that he'll be able to fight off Scylla without losing any of his men, but Circe angrily corrects him: Scylla is immortal, and can't be defeated by mere mortals. Odysseus will have to sacrifice six of his own men to feed Scylla if he hopes to get back to Ithaca.

Circe's point of view is interesting: she encourages Odysseus to accept the inevitable; i.e., accept the fact that he's going to have to lose some men in order to get home. She further accuses Odysseus of being overly eager to fight, and suggests that he's hopelessly violent and desirous of glory. In short, Circe is urging Odysseus to accept his limitations, and sometimes take the easier way out. Odysseus is a hero, but he's also mortal, meaning that he'll never be able to beat Scylla. Odysseus's boundless confidence in his own abilities is part of what makes him such a compelling character, but as we'll see, it also makes him reckless and careless at times.

Book 13 Quotes

Any man – any god who met you – would have to be
some champion lying cheat to get past you
for all-round craft and guile! You terrible man,
foxy, ingenious, never tired of twists and tricks –
so, not even here, on native soil, would you give up
those wily tales that warm the cockles of your heart!

Related Characters: Athena (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 13.329-334
Explanation and Analysis:

Odysseus has finally returned to Ithaca, and Athena appears before him in the guise of a poor shepherd. When the shepherd asks Odysseus who he is, Odysseus tells a lie, thinking on the spot. At this point, Athena reveals that she's really a goddess. Moreover, she affectionately praises Odysseus for being such a quick-witted hero: even when he's back in Ithaca, Odysseus loves to tell lies.

Athena knows her man (Odysseus has always been her favored hero) well, and she recognizes that Odysseus's greatest asset is his brain. Odysseus has used his wit to lie his way to safety again and again: with Polyphemus, with Nausicaa, etc. As the goddess of wisdom, Athena is understandably impressed with her hero's abilities: by using his mind so skillfully, Odysseus does honor to Athena, and Athena rewards him in turn.

Book 15 Quotes

Even too much sleep can be a bore. …
We two will keep to the shelter here, eat and drink
and take some joy in each other's heartbreaking sorrows,
sharing each other's memories.

Related Characters: Eumaeus (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 15.443-449
Explanation and Analysis:

In this Book, Odysseus stays with the humble shepherd, Eumaeus. Eumaeus isn't very wealthy, but like a good host, he provides Odysseus with food and warm clothing, in the process confirming that he's a good, moral person. (This is later contrasted with the goatherd Melanthius, a man who shares a similar social position to Eumaeus, but is rude to visitors and disloyal to his king.)

In this passage, Odysseus and Eumaeus engage in the sacred art of storytelling. Eumaeus is a lonely man, and so he gets pleasure out of hosting visitors: as a host, he has somebody to talk to about his memories of the past. There is, in short, a "quid pro quo" in hospitality. The host provides the guest with food and warmth, and the guest provides the host with good company and stories of adventure. Eumaeus may not be a rich man, but he's a good man: he knows the unwritten, sacred laws of hospitality, and he follows them to the letter.

Book 16 Quotes

Would I were young as you, to match my spirit now,
or I were the son of great Odysseus, or the king himself
returned from all his roving – there's still room for hope!
Then let some foreigner lop my head off if I failed
to march right into Odysseus's royal halls
and kill them all. And what if I went down,
crushed by their numbers – I, fighting alone?
I'd rather die, cut down in my own house
than have to look on at their outrage day by day.

Related Characters: Odysseus (speaker), Telemachus, Antinous, Eurymachus
Page Number: 16.111-119
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage Telemachus has made contact with Odysseus, but doesn't yet realize that he's reunited with his own father (Athena has disguised Odysseus as an old beggar). Instead of revealing himself to Telemachus, Odysseus gives a long speech in which he talks about how he'd avenge Penelope's honor if he were young and noble. In another minute, Athena will urge Odysseus to reveal his true identity to his son--but for now, Odysseus keeps himself hidden.

Why doesn't Odysseus just reveal himself to his beloved son right away? Homer suggests a couple of answers. First, Odysseus is unsure if he can trust Telemachus: Agamemnon has inspired him to distrust everyone, even his own family. (Immediately after this passage, Athena appears, assuring Odysseus that he can trust Telemachus.) Second, Odysseus doesn't want to reveal his whereabouts too early: if he tells Telemachus who he is, there's a chance the news could get back to Antinous and the other suitors, and he could be killed. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Odysseus genuinely loves to lie, and wants to draw out the suspense of his secret return. He gets a thrill from pretending to be someone he's not--here, for example, he's definitely enjoying himself as he goes on about what he'd do "if" he were Odysseus. One could even argue that Odysseus is a trickster/poet/artist first and a father/warrior/king second. 

Book 17 Quotes

Odysseus was torn…
Should he wheel with his staff and beat the scoundrel senseless? –
or hoist him by the midriff, split his skull on the rocks?
He steeled himself instead, his mind in full control.

Related Characters: Odysseus, Melanthius
Page Number: 17.257-260
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Odysseus, disguised as an old beggar, ventures toward his palace. While he's walking there a goatherd named Melanthius gives him a kick and insults him. Odysseus is tempted to reveal himself to Melanthius and punish him for his disobedience. But instead, Odysseus keeps his self-control and walks on. If he were to get in a  fight with the goatherd, he'd ruin his plan by revealing his strength and youth.

The passage shows that Odysseus is a very different kind of hero than the ones we met during the Trojan War (including younger-Odysseus himself, at times). Odysseus is a talented warrior, but by now his mind is even more powerful than his body: he has the discipline and caution needed to pull off a complicated plan, and is even willing to take a humiliating beating if it means the plan will succeed. The passage thus suggests that Odysseus has become more disciplined during his journey home. The old Odysseus had ruined his own plan by bragging to the cyclops--the new Odysseus, however, isn't so reckless or so arrogant.

You know how you can stare at a bard in wonder –
trained by the gods to sing and hold men spellbound –
how you can long to sit there, listening, all your life
when the man begins to sing. So he charmed my heart.

Related Characters: Eumaeus (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 17.575-578
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Eumaeus has brought Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, to the court where Odysseus once ruled. Antinous, the informal leader of the suitors, angrily asks Eumaeus why he's brought a mere beggar to the court. Eumaeus, thinking fast, claims that he took pity on Odysseus. He adds that Odysseus charmed his heart, like a bard might charm a listener with his song.

The passage is a good example of the Odyssey's unique style of comedy, based on the sudden reversal of social roles. The passage is undeniably funny because it gives a humble shepherd, Eumaeus, the opportunity to patronize Odysseus, a king among men. Later on, this passage was extremely influential in Greek and Roman comedies, which were almost always structured around a similar reversal of social roles.

Book 21 Quotes

Like an expert singer skilled at lyre and song –
who strains a string to a new peg with ease,
making the pliant sheep-gut fast at either end –
so with his virtuoso ease Odysseus strung his mighty bow.

Related Characters: Odysseus
Page Number: 21.453-456
Explanation and Analysis:

In this satisfying, climactic passage Odysseus--still disguised as a beggar--succeeds in a seemingly impossible task. He's able to string a heavy bow, which only the former "King Odysseus" was able to handle, and which all the suitors have failed to string. Homer compares the skill with which Odysseus strings the bow to the way a talented bard strings a lyre. The scene represents the first sign for the suitors that Odysseus the beggar isn't really a beggar at all: Odysseus is confirming his status as the rightful king of Ithaca, and also beginning to reveal his skill and power (both as a warrior and as a cunning, creative man--like a singer or musician) to those who have usurped his position.

Critics have noted that this passage is one of the only times in the poem when Homer alludes to his own profession: Homer was a professional bard, meaning that he had to play the lyre and perform for large audiences. Moreover, by comparing himself to Odysseus, Homer might be implying his own status as a great man, skillful and powerful even if in humble ways. Like Odysseus, Homer is clearly an intelligent person and a quick thinker, and enjoys showing off his abilities.

Book 22 Quotes

No fear of the gods who rule the skies up there,
no fear that men's revenge might arrive someday –
now all your necks are in the noose – your doom is sealed!

Related Characters: Odysseus (speaker), Antinous, Eurymachus
Page Number: 22.40-42
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Odysseus has revealed himself as the rightful king of Ithaca. The suitors, who have been squatting on his property for years now, beg for mercy. But Odysseus refuses to grant them mercy of any kind: there's nobody who can save them now. Odysseus and his son Telemachus proceed to slaughter every suitor on his property.

It's important to note the obvious pleasure that Odysseus takes in avenging the suitors. While he'll later scold others for rejoicing in the deaths of the suitors, he seems to do exactly that here, gloating that he's tricked them all, and that nobody can save the suitors now. Perhaps Homer believes that Odysseus is entitled to some gloating--he's been trying to get home and regain his throne for years, and now that he's back, he should be able to dole out punishments to people like Antinous who have broken the sacred laws of hospitality and marriage.

Book 24 Quotes

What good sense resided in your Penelope –
how well Icarius's daughter remembered you,
Odysseus, the man she married once!
The fame of her great virtue will never die.
The immortal gods will lift a song for all mankind,
a glorious song in praise of self-possessed Penelope.

Related Characters: Agamemnon (speaker), Odysseus, Penelope
Page Number: 24.213-218
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, the ghost of Agamemnon, confined to the Underworld, crosses paths with the ghosts of the various suitors Odysseus has just slaughtered. Agamemnon is glad to hear that Odysseus has reclaimed his place in Ithaca, because it proves that Penelope was a good and faithful wife to him. Agamemnon was murdered by his own wife, but he's pleased to hear that Penelope really is a loyal, moral woman.

Even if Agamemnon is trapped in the Underworld forever, he's gets some relief with the knowledge that not all marriages are treacherous, and Odysseus has come to a happy ending. Furthermore, Agamemnon's speech reminds us that, in a way, Penelope is another true hero of the poem: her intelligence and faithfulness will be remembered for just as long as Odysseus's wiliness and strength. Furthermore, both king and queen are ultimately most praised for their self-restraint--Odysseus when he allowed himself to be disguised as a humble beggar, or chose to give up glory in pursuit of his ultimate goal, and Penelope when she chose to remain loyal to Odysseus, despite all indications that he would never return from Troy.

Now that royal Odysseus has taken his revenge,
let both sides seal their pacts that he shall reign for life,
and let us purge their memories of the bloody slaughter
of their brothers and their sons. Let them be friends,
devoted as in the old days. Let peace and wealth
come cresting through the land.

Related Characters: Zeus (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 24.533-538
Explanation and Analysis:

In the final pages of the poem, the gods tie up all the "loose ends" in Ithaca. While it's possible that civil war could break out with the return of Odysseus and the slaughter of the suitors (all young noblemen with influential families), Zeus ensures that both sides of the conflict make peace and unite around Odysseus's newly restored leadership. In this way, the gods intervene to ensure a happy ending to the story.

The passage is one final reminder of the relationship between free will and divine intervention. Zeus ties up the loose ends, but only because he's pleased with what Odysseus has accomplished all by himself: i.e., his defeat of the suitors and his reunion with his equally-admirable wife and child. In other words, Zeus chooses to intervene in the lives of the people who deserve his help. After years of war, jealousy, and betrayal, all caused by Helen's abduction from Greece, Zeus decides to shut the book on the whole affair and bring some happiness to the human race (at least in the case of this poem). He rewards Odysseus, out of all those involved in the Trojan War, because Odysseus has proven his own worth as a free human being beyond all doubt.

Get the entire The Odyssey LitChart as a printable PDF.
The odyssey.pdf.medium

Odysseus Character Timeline in The Odyssey

The timeline below shows where the character Odysseus appears in The Odyssey. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
...by asking the Muse, the goddess of poetry and music, to sing to him about Odysseus and his travels. Odysseus and his crew have seen many strange lands and have suffered... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
...says the bard to the muse, and so the story begins in the middle of Odysseus's long journey home from Troy. The nymph Calypso has held Odysseus captive for seven years... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Athena flies to Ithaca to speak to Odysseus's son Telemachus. Droves of men courting Odysseus's wife Penelope have been feasting for years in... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
After Telemachus has given Athena a proper welcome, she tells Telemachus that Odysseus is still alive, and that he is held captive on a faraway island. She prophesies... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
...grief. Telemachus reproaches her; he reminds her that Zeus, not the bard, is responsible for Odysseus's suffering. He tells her to have courage, to listen to the bard's song, and to... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...for their wrongdoings. He declares his intentions to remain the lord of the estate in Odysseus's absence. The suitors are amazed at the prince's confidence and daring. Antinous responds that only... (full context)
Book 2
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...crew of twenty men to sail to Pylos and Sparta in search of news about Odysseus. If he hears that his father is alive, he will hold the suitors back for... (full context)
Book 3
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...does Nestor inquire about their identities. Telemachus explains that they've come to seek news about Odysseus's journey or about his death. (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Nestor mentions the many men whose deaths he witnessed during the Trojan War; he describes Odysseus as a man of unequalled cunning, and tells Telemachus that his eloquence is similar to... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...power to wreak revenge on the suitors feasting in his father's house. Nestor wonders whether Odysseus will ever return to punish the suitors, and echoes Telemachus in wishing for him the... (full context)
Book 4
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
He grieves for all his comrades, Menelaus says, but he grieves for Odysseus the most, because he worked the hardest but suffered the most. Telemachus cries to hear... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...into the wine that makes the men forget their sorrows. She tells the guests about Odysseus's conquest of Troy: he stole into the city disguised as a beggar, killed many Trojans,... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...describes the suitors' disgraceful behavior and begs Menelaus to tell him all he knows about Odysseus. The king tells Telemachus that the gods trapped him in still waters by the island... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...that Ajax died at the hands of Poseidon, and Agamemnon at the hands of Aegisthus. Odysseus, Proteus said, was trapped on Calypso's island. The next dawn Menelaus and his men set... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...to reassure her that her son is under Athena's protection. Penelope questions the phantom about Odysseus, but the phantom refuses to speak. The suitors sail to the island Asteris, and lie... (full context)
Book 5
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
The gods assemble on mount Olympus. Athena implores Zeus to help Odysseus, who was such a kind and just ruler, and is now trapped in Calypso's house... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
...where the goddess sings and weaves by a fire in her cavern in the woods. Odysseus sits on the beach and cries. Hermes tells Calypso that Zeus commands her to release... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Though Odysseus sleeps with Calypso, he weeps for his wife and home. Calypso comes to him and... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
The next morning, Odysseus sets to work making a raft with the goddess's tools. When he finishes, Calypso gives... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Odysseus floats for two nights and two days, and at the dawn of the third day... (full context)
Book 6
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
As Odysseus sleeps, Athena flies to a Phaeacian city where the princess Nausicaa, daughter of the king... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
By Athena's design, the girls romping wakes Odysseus. He's a little apprehensive at first but he walks out toward them, shielding himself with... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Nausicaa invites Odysseus to ride into town with her, but on second thought asks him to enter the... (full context)
Book 7
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
As Odysseus walks toward the city, Athena surrounds him with a protective mist. Disguised as a little... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Alcinous sits Odysseus down next to him, Odysseus eats and drinks, and they all raise their wine glasses... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
As the servants clear away the plates, Arete notices that Odysseus is wearing clothes from her household, and asks about them suspiciously. Odysseus tells her a... (full context)
Book 8
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...ship down to the sea and to find a crew of fifty-two men to transport Odysseus home; everyone else, he says, should gather to feast and celebrate. After everyone eats and... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...ready to compete. There is a footrace, followed by wrestling, jumping, and discus-throwing. Laodamas invites Odysseus to join the competition, but Odysseus declines, citing his long suffering and exhaustion. Broadsea, another... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...farther than any other competitor; Athena in disguise praises him and goads him on, and Odysseus boasts that he'll defeat anyone in the crowd in any sport – anyone except the... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
After the story ends, Alcinous's best dancers perform, and Odysseus is amazed at their skill. Alcinous calls on the twelve peers of his kingdom to... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...burst from the horse and defeated the Trojans; the bard mentions the particular courage of Odysseus and Menelaus. Odysseus cries to hear the tale. Only Alcinous notices his tears, and he... (full context)
Book 9
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus names himself and begins telling the story of his long travels after leaving Troy. In... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
...and all memory of home – they only wanted to stay and eat lotus. But Odysseus forced them to return to the ships, tied them to the masts, and told the... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...Cyclops. The one-eyed Cyclops have no laws, no councils, no farms, no ships or traders. Odysseus and the crew from his ship went to explore the continent while the other men... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...lit a fire. Suddenly he noticed the men and asked them angrily who they were. Odysseus responded that they were Achaeans that had lost their way home, and urged the Cyclops,... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...the day, shutting the entrance of the cave behind him with the huge rock. Meanwhile Odysseus plotted revenge. He took Polyphemus' club and his men filed it down to a point... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Next, Odysseus plotted their escape. He arranged the rams in the cave in groups of three and... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...remembered that a prophet once told him that he would be blinded by someone named Odysseus and called out to his father Poseidon to exact revenge: he prayed that Odysseus should... (full context)
Book 10
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus continues his story to the Phaeacians: The men's next stop was the Aeolian island, home... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Odysseus begged Aeolus for help, but Aeolus believed that Odysseus's misfortune proved that he was hated... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Odysseus and his single ship sailed on, and anchored on Circe's island. They rested for two... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Eurylochus ran back to the ship and told Odysseus that the men vanished into the palace and did not return. Odysseus set off for... (full context)
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
When Odysseus walked into Circe's palace, everything happened just as Hermes predicted, and Circe then guessed that... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
...living in luxury, but after a year the crew grew increasingly restless and finally convinced Odysseus that it was time to leave. Circe advised him to go down to the land... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
...when he returned to of Ithaca and to slaughter a black ram for Tiresias. Afterwards, Odysseus must slaughter a ram and an ewe with his head turned away. Only then will... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
As Odysseus and his crew woke the next morning to depart, they discovered that Elpenor, the youngest... (full context)
Book 11
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Odysseus continues telling his tale to Alcinous and the Phaeacians. When he and his men reached... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Finally Tiresias appeared. Once he drank the blood of the slaughtered animals, he told Odysseus that his journey home would be full of trouble: Odysseus had angered Poseidon by blinding... (full context)
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus asked Tiresias how to speak to the ghost of his mother, and Tiresias explained that... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Odysseus describes the conversation he had with Agamemnon. The ghost discussed his wife's infidelity; he told... (full context)
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Next Odysseus talked to Achilles, who said that he would rather be a slave on earth than... (full context)
Book 12
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...to Aeaea, performed all the proper funeral rites for Elpenor, and buried his body. Before Odysseus and his men depart, Circe told Odysseus that he must pass the island of the... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...the ship Argo has passed between these monsters with no lives lost. Circe advised that Odysseus sail his ship past Scylla and sacrifice six men rather than risk getting sucked down... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...Circe finished, and the men prepared their ship for departure. As the ship sailed away, Odysseus told the men Circe's advice, though he told them that Circe said he must hear... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Next they reached the island of the Sun. Odysseus wanted to avoid the island altogether, but Eurylochus insisted that the crew needed rest. Odysseus... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
The sun god Helios angrily asked Zeus and the other gods to punish Odysseus's crew for killing his cattle, and Zeus complied. Strange things began to happen to the... (full context)
Book 13
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
The next day, King Alcinous stows Odysseus's many gifts on the ship and everyone feasts. When Odysseus walks onto the ship the... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Poseidon is angered that the Phaeacians helped Odysseus and gave him so much treasure, despite Poseidon's grudge. Zeus considers Poseidon's complaint a bit... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Back in Ithaca, Odysseus wakes from his long sleep. Athena has surrounded him with mist to protect him, so... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus notes that Athena had been kind to him during the war but that she seemed... (full context)
Book 14
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Odysseus, still disguised as a beggar, walks to the swineherd's house. Eumaeus invites Odysseus in to... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus-the-beggar tells Eumaeus that he was born in Crete, the unlawful son of a rich man... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Odysseus-the-beggar left Egypt with a Phoenician con man, who convinced him to go to Libya. But... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus decides to test Eumaeus's generosity: he describes a freezing, snowy night during the Trojan War... (full context)
Book 15
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...next morning, Menelaus arranges for Telemachus to leave for home with Pisistratus. When Telemachus mentions Odysseus in his good-byes, an eagle with a goose in its claws flies by: a good... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Meanwhile, back in Ithaca, Odysseus decides to test Eumaeus one more time. He tells Eumaeus that he plans to leave... (full context)
Book 16
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...care of the stranger. Telemachus gladly offers to give the stranger clothes and a sword. Odysseus-the-beggar interjects to say that it upsets him to hear about the sad state of affairs... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Athena approaches the farm, but only Odysseus and the dogs can see her. He walks outside to talk to her, and she... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Odysseus asks Telemachus to describe the suitors so that they can plan an attack. Telemachus doubts... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...from her chambers and confronts Antinous about his schemes against Telemachus. She reminds him that Odysseus once saved his father, and shames Antinous for mistreating Odysseus's land and wife in his... (full context)
Book 17
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...to him, but their intentions are dark. He tells Penelope that Menelaus had heard that Odysseus had been trapped on Calypso's island. Theoclymenus adds his prophecy: he says that Odysseus is... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
As the two men approach the castle, Eumaeus warns Odysseus-the-beggar that someone might hit or mock him just for the fun of it, and Odysseus... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus enters his own house for the first time in twenty years. Telemachus tells Eumaeus to... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Antinous flings a stool at the king, but Odysseus contains his anger once again, and tells the other suitors that such undeserved violence will... (full context)
Book 18
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
A rude beggar named Arnaeus (Irus for short) wanders into the palace. He insults Odysseus-the-beggar when they meet on the grounds, and Antinous decides to pit them against each other... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
The suitor Amphinomus is especially kind to Odysseus-the-beggar. As they talk, Odysseus mentions his own past violence and error, advises him to live... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...if they hope to win her hand they should give her gifts, as is customary. Odysseus is pleased at this clever trick. The suitors send their servants to bring fine treasures... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Athena wants to rile Odysseus as much as possible, so she inspires Eurymachus to mock him once more, but Odysseus... (full context)
Book 19
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
That night, as the suitors sleep, Odysseus and Telemachus lock up most of the weapons as part of their plan. Telemachus goes... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
...a luxury; instead, the nurse Eurycleia washes his feet. The old nurse cries to hear Odysseus's name and swears the there is a great likeness between her king and the old... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
When the nurse leaves, Odysseus-the-beggar resumes his conversation with Penelope. She asks him to interpret a dream in which an... (full context)
Book 20
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Odysseus lies awake and worries about fighting an entire crowd of suitors - and the crowds... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...clean and decorate the house for the feast to be held during the archery contest. Odysseus ignores another insult from the goatherd and speaks briefly to the cowherd. An eagle flies... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Athena wants to rouse Odysseus's anger so she inspires a suitor names Ctesippus to fling a hoof at him; Telemachus... (full context)
Book 21
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Penelope sets out Odysseus's bow and axes, and announces to the suitors that the archer that can shoot an... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus reenters the palace, where Eurymachus has just failed to string the bow. Odysseus-the-beggar advises the... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Eumaeus carries the bow to the king amidst the mocking of the suitors. Odysseus strings the bow as gracefully as a bard tuning his lyre; Zeus sends down a... (full context)
Book 22
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus shoots Antinous through the throat just as the suitor is about to take a sip... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...so that no suitors can escape. The goatherd Melanthius climbs through a secret passageway into Odysseus's storeroom and brings weapons to some of the suitors. Eumaeus and Philoetius catch Melanthius when... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Telemachus brings out Eurycleia; she is happy to see the suitors dead, but Odysseus warns her that it is wrong to rejoice over the bodies of the dead. He... (full context)
Book 23
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Eurycleia tells Penelope that Odysseus has finally come home and killed the suitors. The nurse mentions the telltale boar tusk... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Athena changes Odysseus back into a handsome younger man. He chides Penelope for her cold welcome and tells... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
Odysseus warns Penelope that he must make one more long, dangerous journey before they can settle... (full context)
Book 24
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...young men have died all at once. Amphimedon describes the suitors' courtship, Penelope's loyalty, and Odysseus's revenge. Agamemnon is glad that Odysseus's wife was more faithful than his own, and says... (full context)
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Odysseus and his three companions come to Laertes' farm. Odysseus finds his father working in the... (full context)
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...out for revenge, but the herald Medon warns the crowd that the gods are on Odysseus's side. Some back down in fear, but others get ready for battle. (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...that the townsmen should forget their grievances and live in peace. Back at the farm, Odysseus and the other men get ready to face the army from town. Athena in the... (full context)