After ten years, Odysseus still has not returned to his kingdom in Ithaca. A large
and destructive mob of suitors who have taken over Odysseus's palace and his land
continue to court his wife, Penelope. She has remained faithful to Odysseus though she
has no way of knowing weather he is dead of alive. Prince Telemachus, Odysseus's son,
wants desperately to throw them out but does not have the confidence or experience to
fight them. The suitor Antinous plans to assassinate the young prince, to eliminate the
only thing keeping them from complete control over the palace.
Unknown to everyone, Odysseus is still alive. Calypso has Odysseus imprisoned
on her island, Ogygia, because she loves him. He longs to return to his wife and son, but
he has no ship or crew to help him escape. The gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus
debate Odysseus's future. Athena, Odysseus's strongest supporter among the gods,
resolves to help Telemachus and later Odysseus. Athena in disguise convinces the prince
to call a meeting of the assembly at which he reproaches the suitors. Athena also prepares
him for a journey to Pylos and Sparta, where he is informed that Odysseus is alive and
trapped on Calypso's island. Telemachus makes plans to return home, while back in
Ithaca, the suitors prepare a plan to kill him when he reaches port.
On Mount Olympus, Zeus sends Hermes to rescue Odysseus from Calypso.
Hermes persuades Calypso to let Odysseus build a ship and leave. He finally sets sail, but
when Poseidon (god of the sea) sends a storm to wreck Odysseus's ship. Poseidon has
had a grudge against Odysseus since the hero blinded his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus,
earlier in his travels. Athena saves Odysseus from Poseidon's wrath, and the struggling
king lands at Scheria, home of the Phaeacians. Nausicaa, the Phaeacian princess shows
him to the royal palace, and Odysseus receives a warm welcome from the king and
queen. Odysseus tells them about his of his battle with Polyphemus the Cyclops, his love
affair with the witch-goddess Circe, his temptation by the deadly Sirens, and his fight
with the sea monster Scylla. When he finishes his story, the Phaeacians return Odysseus
Back in Ithaca, he seeks out his faithful swineherd, Eumaeus. Though
Athena has disguised Odysseus as a beggar; Eumaeus warmly receives and nourishes him
in the hut. He soon encounters Telemachus and reveals to him his identity. Odysseus
and Telemachus devise a plan to massacre the suitors and regain control of Ithaca.
When Odysseus disguised as a beggar arrives at the palace the next day, he endures
hatred and insults from the suitors. The only person who recognizes him is his nurse,
Eurycleia. Penelope takes an interest in this strange beggar, suspecting that he might be
her long-lost husband. Penelope organizes an archery contest the following day and
promises to marry the man who can string Odysseus's great bow and fire an arrow
through a row of twelve axes. She knew that only Odysseus would be able to accomplish
this great task. Each suitor tries to string the bow and fails, but only Odysseus is able to
complete the task. He and Telemachus then kill a few unfaithful servants and the suitors.
Odysseus reveals himself to the entire palace and reunites with his loving
Penelope. He travels to the outskirts of Ithaca to see his dieing father, Laertes. They come
under attack from the bitter family members of the dead suitors. Laertes reinvigorated by
his son's return, kills Antinous's father and puts a stop to the attack. Zeus sends Athena
to restore peace. With Odysseus and his family back together, his long journey is over.
The suitors tried many ways to win Penelope's love. During the beginning of the
epic, Penelope makes a deal with the suitors. She tells the...
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