The Odyssey


Books 13 to 16

Book 13 Summary

Deeply moved by Odysseus’s tale of suffering, King Alcinous encourages the members of his court to heap treasures upon the hero. The next afternoon, Odysseus boards a ship loaded with gifts to return home at last. The crew of Phaeacians sail toward Ithaca while the exhausted hero sleeps. He is still sleeping when they arrive, so the Phaeacians carry him to shore, unload all of his gifts, and leave Odysseus sleeping on the beach as they turn around to return to Scheria. The vengeful Poseidon sees that Odysseus has made it to Ithaca, and is enraged that the Phaeacians were so kind to his enemy. The sea god appeals to Zeus for permission to punish the Phaeacians. Zeus agrees, and even suggests how to punish them. Poseidon waits until the Phaeacian ship is in plain view of Scheria and then turns it to stone. The ship and its entire crew sink right in front of the Phaeacians, who recognize this as punishment from the gods.

When Odysseus awakens on the shore of Ithaca, he does not recognize his native land because Athena has disguised it in an enchanted mist. He thinks for a moment that the Phaeacians have betrayed him, but Athena appears to him disguised as a shepherd and assures him that he is in Ithaca. She soon reveals her true form and tells Odysseus what to do next. She disguises him as an old beggar and says that he must seek out his loyal old swineherd, Eumaeus, and hide for the time being in his hut. In the meantime, she will retrieve Telemachus from Sparta and bring him back safely to help Odysseus drive the suitors from the palace.

Book 14 Summary

In his disguise as a beggar, Odysseus is received kindly by Eumaeus. The swineherd invites the stranger inside, makes him comfortable with his own bedding, and gives him food and wine. All the while, Eumaeus bemoans the absence of his good, kind master Odysseus, and complains about the evil suitors who have taken over. Odysseus suggests that it may not be long before Eumaeus sees his master again, but the swineherd is skeptical. Odysseus...

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Essays About The Odyssey