The Odyssey /Book Critique

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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

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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

to Ithaca.

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.

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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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