Summary: The Odyssey
tale begins on
reminds Zeus to send Hermes to Calypso and he tells her that Odysseus may
leave but under strict conditions: he has to build his own raft. Calypso
isn't happy about the command and Odysseus has problems believing her.
Once he has built his raft, she gives him food and sends him off. He sails
for seventeen days and then his raft is destroyed by Poseidon. He is aided
by a nymph and floats for two days to land. He is found by Nausikaa and
told to go to the house of her father Alcinoos. Alcinoos hears part of his
tale and secures passage for him back to
tells them how he left
is moved by Odysseus story and he gives him more gifts. His men take
next day Telemachus returns to his house first and the swineherd follows
with the beggar. On they way they are mocked by the goatherd. When they
get to the house Odysseus is given food as a beggar but must withstand the
taunts of the suitors. When he implies that they are generous because they
are giving away somebody else's food, Antinoos throws a stool at him.
Odysseus continues to test the loyalty of people around him. He tells his
story to Penelope and when his old nurse gives him a bath she recognizes
his scar. Penelope tells him that she will challenge the suitors to string
Odysseus' bow and shoot it through twelve axeheads. Whoever does this may
marry her. Odysseus is forced to box another beggar and is rewarded with
blood pudding and wine when he wins. They sleep one night and the suitors
return the next day.
Penelope rises she retrieves the bow and the axeheads and announces the
contest. Telemachus tries to bend the bow and almost can, but his father
has him stop. None of the suitors can bend it and Antinoos proposes they
carry on with the contest tomorrow. Odysseus asks for a try and the
suitors would have denied him but Telemachus demanded that he be allowed.
Odysseus strings it and shoots through the axeheads easily then he begins
to kill suitors. Telemachus joins him with the cowherd and the swineherd.
The goatherd helps the suitors get weapons, but the other herders stop
him. Athena joins the battle and they slaughter everyone but the minstrel
and the herald. Odysseus has the bodies piled up and he hangs the disloyal
serving girls. He bathes and approaches Penelope who does not believe it
is him until they speak of secret proof. They sleep together and tell each
other their stories. In the morning, Odysseus instructs everyone to
pretend there is a wedding feast so that no one will come looking for the
suitors. He goes and finds his father and lies to him at first but then
reveals his identity. Meanwhile, the town assembles, enraged at Odysseus'
deeds. When the herald tells them that a god helped him, half of the
townspeople calm down. The others go in search of Odysseus. There is a
brief battle, but Athena stops it and persuades them to sign a pact which
declares Odysseus the king.