Set in ancient Greece, The Odyssey is about the hero Odysseus’ long-awaited return from the Trojan War to his homeland, Ithaca, after ten years of wandering. The current action of The Odyssey occupies the last six weeks of the ten years, and the narrative includes many places – Olympus, Ithaca, Pylos, Pherae, Sparta, Ogygia, and Scheria. In Books 9-12, Odysseus narrates the story of his travels in the years after the fall of Troy, and this narrative includes other far-flung places, such as the island of the Cyclops. The main action of the poem takes place in Ithaca, after a disguised Odysseus reaches here in Book 13.
In Books 13 to 24, Odysseus is slowly reunited with his family and takes revenge on the suitors that have been wooing his wife and Odysseus – the protagonist and hero of the poem. Odysseus is the King of Ithaca, a small, rugged island on the western coast of Greece. He takes part in the Trojan War on the side of Agamemnon. Of all the heroes who return from the war, his homeward voyage is the longest and most perilous. Although Odysseus is in many ways a typical Homeric hero, he is not perfect, and his very human flaws play an important role in the work.
Penelope – the “much-enduring” wife of Odysseus and the patient mother of Telemachus. If travel is Odysseus’ test, staying home is Penelope’s. She keeps home and family intact until Odysseus can return to claim his rights. The suffering she undergoes and the tricks that she employs to keep her suitors at bay bear testimony to her power of endurance and love for her son and Telemachus – Odysseus’ son. A mere child when his father left for the Trojan War, Telemachus is, at the beginning of The Odyssey, an inexperienced, unhappy, and helpless young man.
His travels in search of his father help him o mature, and, on Odysseus’ return, he fulfills his duties, as the son of a hero Athene – the goddess of wisdom and the daughter of Zeus. She is Odysseus’ champion amongst the gods, and she aids him and Telemachus throughout the poem, displaying great tact, intelligence, and cleverness in all her endeavors. Nestor – the King of Pylos. He had fought on the side of Agamemnon in the Trojan War. When Telemachus sails off to find news of Odysseus, he first visits Nestor at Pylos. Nestor contributes very little to Telemachus’ knowledge of his father, though he is generous and helpful.
Menelaus – the King of Sparta. The Trojan War was fought to rescue his wife, Helen, who was abducted by Paris. In The Odyssey, both husband and wife are back at Sparta. An old friend of Odysseus, Menelaus welcomes Telemachus Helen – the wife of Menelaus and the cause of the Trojan War. Helen’s portrayal is more striking than that of Menelaus. She is back with Menelaus at Sparta, happy and at peace, having learned from her sufferings. The tenderness which she possesses in The Iliad is turned to new purposes here in Antinous – the most vociferous and proud of the suitors.
He plots Telemachus’ eath and often leads the suitors in their mistreatment of Odysseus and his Eurymachus – another outspoken and powerful suitor. In Book 22, he begs Odysseus for forgiveness on behalf of all the suitors. Athene in the disguise of Mentes – in the first Book, Athene encourages Telemachus to go in search of news about his father. She does this in the guise Aegyptus – one of the noble Ithacans. He speaks first at the assembly called Halitherses – an Ithacan soothsayer. He is one of the few Ithacans in the assembly who remain loyal to Odysseus.
Mentor – another Ithacan who is loyal to Odysseus. When Odysseus departed, he had given charge of his house to this man. Athene often disguises herself as Mentor in order to aid Odysseus and Telemachus. Leocritus – one of the contemptible, villainous suitors who voices his opinion Peisistratus – the son of Nestor and Telemachus’ companion for much of his Echephron, Stratius, Perseus, Aretus, Thrasymedes – the other five sons of Nestor at Gerenia, who help their father in looking after the guest,Telemachus. Eurydice – Nestor’s wife, eldest of the daughters of Clymenus.
Polycaste – the youngest daughter of Nestor. She bathes Telemachus when he tays at her father’s house in Pylos. Diocles – son of Orsilochus and ruler of Pherae. Telemachus and Peisistratus stop at his place for the night on their way to and from Sparta. Lord Elconeus – the squire of Menelaus. He announces the arrival of Telemachus and Peisistratus to his king. Asphalion – another squire of Menelaus. He helps to look after Telemachus Eidothii – daughter of the mighty Proteus. She helps Menelaus to trap her father so that he may hear about the past and future from him.
Noemon – an Ithacan. Athene borrows his ship for Telemachus to take to Pylos for finding news of Odysseus. It is through Noemon that the suitors realize Telemachus has left Ithaca and has gone to Pylos. Medon – a herald in Odysseus’ home at Ithaca. He is loyal to Penelope and often overhears the vicious plans of the suitors and reports them to Penelope. Calypso – a goddess. She abides on a distant isle, Ogygia, and, when Odysseus reaches there after a shipwreck, he stays with her for eight years. It is from her isle that Odysseus leaves for Phaecia, from which he finally reaches Ithaca.
Calypso loves Odysseus sincerely, but has no choice but to let Ino – daughter of Cadmus. She was initially a mortal, but is now a goddess ho resides in the deep sea. She helps Odysseus to reach Phaecia after his ship is wrecked by Poseidon by giving him a magical veil which prevents him Nausicaa – the daughter of Alcinous, the King of Phaecia. She is the first to meet Odysseus when he reaches Phaecia. She guides him to the city and advises him to approach her mother Arete if he wishes to get help to return Alcinous – the king of Phaecia. He is a hospitable host to Odysseus, who stays with him for a few days.
Odysseus relates the stories of his adventures to Alcinous, who helps him return home. Arete – the wife of Alcinous. She is a well-respected woman at Phaecia. When Odysseus reaches the Phaecian capital’s palace, he clasps her knees and asks for help to get back to his home. She is obliging. Demodocus – the divine minstrel at Alcinous’ palace. Upon hearing his songs of the heroes of Troy, Odysseus begins to cry. Pontonous – a servant at Alcinous’ palace. He helps to lead the blind Demodocus into the hall and performs other miscellaneous duties.
Laodamas – son of Alcinous. He suggests that Odysseus should also take part in the Phaecian games and try his hand at some sport. Euryalus – a strong and handsome Phaecian youth. He insults Odysseus when he refuses to take part in the Phaecian games, but later apologizes on Halius – the second son of Alcinous. He and Laodamas dance to entertain Clytoneus – the third son of Alcinous. A swift runner, he wins the race in the The giant Polyphemus – a Cyclops and the son of the god Poseidon. Odysseus enters his cave with his companions after leaving Troy and is trapped.
While escaping, he blinds the eye of this giant, for which he is Aeolus – keeper of the winds. He resides on a floating island along with his large family. After the adventure with the Cyclops, Odysseus and his men stay ith Aeolus for a whole month and then are sent on their way to Ithaca. Aeolus gives Odysseus a bag of winds that his men foolishly open, causing them to be driven back to the Aeolian isle. Antiphates – a Laestrygonian noble. He is as bulky as a mountain peak and kills many of Odysseus’ men when they arrive at Lamos and Telepylos after Circe – a goddess.
She resides on the Aegaean isle. After the Laestrygonian encounter, Odysseus and his men reach her place and stay with her for a year. She begins as a malevolent witch who turns his men into pigs, but later helps Elpenor – the youngest of Odysseus’ crew. When Odysseus and his men are about to leave Circe’s isle in order to descend into the underworld, Elpenor falls from the roof of Circe’s dwelling and dies. His soul meets Odysseus in the underworld and asks for a burial. Eurylochus – the most vociferous of Odysseus’ crew.
He plays a significant part in the Circe and Thrinacian isle episodes but perishes in the sea with the rest of the crew when Odysseus’ ship is destroyed. Tiresias – a legendary Greek seer. His soul prophesies the future for Odysseus in the Hall of Hades and warns him of the dangers that he may face on his Anticleia – Odysseus’ mother. Her soul meets him briefly in the Hall of Hades. Mother and son wish to embrace but cannot, as she is a spirit. Agamemnon – the King of Mycenae and Menelaus’ brother. A heroic leader in the Trojan War, he was killed by Aegisthus, his wife’s lover, upon his return home.
His soul meets Odysseus in the Hall of Hades and warns him of Achilles – a hero of the Trojan War. His soul meets Odysseus in the Hall of Hades and says that he would prefer to be a serf in the land of the living than a great prince in the land of the dead. Ajax – another Trojan hero. His soul appears in the Hall of Hades when Odysseus goes there but refuses to speak to Odysseus as the latter had won a battle against him. This battle was fought for the arms of Achilles at the end of Heracles – the son of Zeus and a great hero. Odysseus meets and talks to his soul in the Hall of Hades.
Heracles recounts his own destiny. Eumaeus – Odysseus’ chief swineherd at Ithaca. Eumaeus is loyal to his master and helps him in the slaughter of the suitors. Theoclymenus – a soothsayer. A fugitive, he sails with Telemachus from Pylos to Ithaca. He interprets signs and omens at Ithaca which indicate that Odysseus will soon slaughter the suitors. Amphinomus – one of the suitors. He is the only one who is somewhat compassionate, but he, too, is slaughtered in the end. Eurycleia – a respected, old servant at Odysseus’ palace. She is loyal to the household and exhibits a clever and sensible mind.
Antiphus – one of the noblemen at Ithaca. He remains loyal to Odysseus and Melanthius – Odysseus’ chief goatherd. He is a rude, pompous man and is disloyal to Odysseus. He is cruelly killed by Odysseus’ loyal servants in the Phemius – the bard at Odysseus’ palace at Ithaca. He remains loyal to his king, though he is forced to sing for the suitors while they feast in the halls. Eurynome – a maidservant of Odysseus. She is loyal to Penelope and Irus – a common beggar at Ithaca. He challenges the disguised Odysseus to a fight. Odysseus accepts and defeats him easily.
Melantho – a shameless and rude maidservant at Odysseus’ place in Ithaca. She is Eurymachus’ paramour and insults the disguised Odysseus more than Ctessipus – another arrogant suitor. He throws an ox’s foot at the disguised Leiodes – the soothsayer among the suitors. He is the first to attempt Odysseus’ bow, but he fails miserably. Philoetius – Odysseus’ chief cowherd. He helps Odysseus in the slaughter of he suitors and displays a quick, efficient mind. Agelaus – another impudent suitor. He urges his companions to attack Laertes – Odysseus’ old father.
He no longer resides at Ithaca, but at a farm in the country. Odysseus meets him in the last Book, and Athene gives this old warrior strength to fight with the suitors’ kinsmen. Dolius – this old man stays with his sons at the same vineyard where Laertes dwells. He embraces Odysseus warmly and welcomes his return. Eupeithes – Antinous’ father. He persuades the suitors’ kinsmen to avenge the wooers’ death. He leads the townspeople to Laertes’ farm to confront Odysseus and is killed by Laertes himself. Hermes – one of the gods. He often acts as a messenger of Zeus.
He is sent to ask Calypso to release Odysseus, and he later leads the suitors’ souls to the Zeus – the supreme god and Athene’s father. His word is the ultimate dictum, and he often appears in this epic, casting thunderbolts and speaking to Athene. The protagonist of this epic poem is Odysseus, the pivot of most of the action. After his ten years of war at Troy, Odysseus is away from home another ten years. He is kept away for so long by the wrath of Poseidon, who is angered y the blinding of his son, Polyphemus. The Odyssey is about Odysseus’ struggle and final return home.
The Trojan War lies in the background as Odysseus leaves Ogygia, reaches Phaecia, where he narrates his adventures up until that point, and returns home to Ithaca. Once at Ithaca, he slays the suitors who have been wooing his wife. Odysseus is the chief of the surviving heroes of the Trojan War, and the story of his adventures and return is the most famous of many. He himself is an enlarged and elaborated version of what he The antagonist of Odysseus is the series of trials, inflicted by many individual ntagonists; in order to successfully return home and regain his rightful place, he must overcome each of them.
The god of the sea, Poseidon, keeps Odysseus wandering for ten weary years, forcing him to arrive in Ithaca in a pitiable condition, with trouble waiting for him at home. He has punished Odysseus for blinding his one-eyed giant son, Polyphemus. Through the eventful course of these ten years, Odysseus is pitted against varied forces – the Cicones, the Lotus-Eaters, the Cyclops, the Laestrygonians, the goddess Circe, the Sirens, Scylla, Charybdis, sea storms raised by gods, Calypso’s emptation of immortal love, and, finally, the suitors at Ithaca.
The suitors may be his worst enemies, but they are not the only ones to cause conflicts in Odysseus’ travels, and their slaying, though it provides a climax to the work, is only one episode in the long list of struggles Odysseus endures. He needs to be cunning and resourceful throughout, even while winning over friends such as the Phaecians. So, while Odysseus is clearly the protagonist, a single antagonist does not exist. Instead, this brave hero fights against odds and antagonistic situations more than antagonists themselves.