The Summary

Home Up The Full Script Odyssey Lists Analyzation The Summary Vocabulary

{Quick Links Are Alphabatized, Page is Chronological Order}

Aeaea - Aeolia - Cicones - Introduction - Lord Helios' Island - Lotus Eaters
Teiresias - The Cyclops - The Return To Ithaca - The Sirens, Charybdis, and Scylla


After the Trojan War, Odysseus, the handsome, brave hero of The Odyssey makes the god of the sea, Poseidon, angry by claiming that he alone won the Trojan War. Poseidon vows he will make Odysseus' journey home tough.


Odysseus and his men sail to the island of the Cicones. The Cicones come over the hill like blades of grass in the spring and Odysseus and his men slaughter all of the Cicone's horseback soldiers, enslave the women, and kill all of their stock.

Lotus Eaters

After leaving the land of the Cicones, Odysseus and his men sail to the Island of the Lotus Eaters. Some of Odysseus' men eat the lotus. The lotus is a drug-like plant that make those who taste it never want to leave or go home. Odysseus drags his men back to the ship and they continue their journey.

The Cyclops

Odysseus and his men then land on the Island of the Cyclopes. They search the island for food and gifts and eventually come to an abandoned cave. They wait for the owner of the cave to come home. The owner of the cave is a one-eyed Cyclops named Polyphemus. Rather than treating his guests to gifts and food, Polyphemus eats a Odysseus' men.  

The door to the cave is covered by a great rock and Odysseus and his men are trapped. The Cyclops asks Odysseus his name and he tells him that it is Nohbody. Odysseus then offers some wine for the Cyclops to wash down his crewmen. The Cyclops then gets drunk and Odysseus and his men put his plan into action. Odysseus and his men sharpen a wooden pole and burn the tip to make it hard and sharp. Then, while Polyphemus is sleeping, they drive the pole into his eyeball. Polyphemus screams in pain and calls to his brothers telling them that "Nohbody has hurt him." The brothers, assuming that nothing is wrong, go home.

Odysseus then ties each of his men to one of Polyphemus' sheep. He then grabs hold of the underside of the largest ram and waits until morning when Polyphemus lets his sheep out to graze.

The next morning Odysseus and his men sneak past the Cyclops underneath the sheep and then run to the ship when they get outside. Odysseus then taunts Polyphemus. Polyphemus begins to throw rocks at Odysseus and his crew and almost hits them with one. Odysseus then tells Polyphemus that it was Odysseus that tricked him and they sail off.


After leaving the Cyclopes’ island, Odysseus and his men sail to Aeolia. This is the place where Aeolus, the wind king lives. He gives Odysseus a gift of stormy winds in a bag so they will be able to sail back to Ithaca. As they come upon Ithaca, the men become mutinous and open the bag. As the stormy winds are released, the men are blown astray and end up on the island of Aeaea.


Once on the island, Odysseus sends twenty-three men to explore. When they come upon Circe singing and weaving, they feel there is no need to be cautious around her. She offers them food and drinks, which turns them into pigs. After Odysseus receives a protectant plant from Hermes, the messenger god, he goes to Circe, and she realizes she’s met her match. She persuades Odysseus to stay with her for many seasons, and then sends him to the Land of the Dead to seek the wisdom of the blind prophet Teiresias.


In order to contact the prophet, Odsseus slays a black lamb and drips the blood into a pit. After fending off many other dead spirits, Teiresias drinks the blood and begins to tell Odysseus what his future beholds. He learns about how to fend off the Sirens, Scylla, and the maelstrom, Charybdis. His men are to tie Odysseus down and wear earplugs until they have passed the luring Sirens, which only Odysseus can hear.

The Sirens, Charybdis, and Scylla

As they pass the island of the Sirens, they steer close to the shore to avoid Charybdis, but in doing so, they come upon the six-headed monster, Scylla. While they row past her, she reaches down and eats six of his men, one with each head.

Lord Helios' Island

On the way to Lord Helios' island, where he keeps is cattle, Odysseus warns his men to leave the cattle alone. In a mutinous rage, the men slaughter some of the cattle and eat them.

As soon as Odysseus and his men leave the island, Zeus gets his revenge by striking the boat with a thunderbolt. Everyone dies excpet Odysseus, who after many days is washed up on the shore of Calypso.


Calypso keeps Odysseus on her island for seven years and finally she lets him go because the messenger god, Hermes, tells her that the gods are angry with her. Odysseus then lands on the island of Phaeacia and is guest of honor at a banquet in the Phaeacian king's palace. The king orders his men to give the infamous Odysseus a ship and Odysseus then sails off for home.

The Return To Ithaca    

Afterward, Odysseus is returned to Ithaca by the Phaeacians in secret, disguised as a beggar. He finds Eumaeus, the swineherd, and stays with him, the swineherd not knowing who Odysseus is.

Meanwhile, Athena appears to Telemachus who is searching for Odysseus. She tells him to return to Ithaca, and that Penelope’s suitors plan to ambush him. Therefore, he returns in secret, and goes to Eumaeus, where Telemachus and Odysseus are reunited.

Telemachus then goes back to his mother. Odysseus once again disguises himself as a beggar and heads for his palace with Eumaeus. After 20 year, only his dog, Argos, recognizes him, and the dog dies after waiting 20 years to see his master again.

In the palace hall, Odysseus is taunted by the evil suitors, but Penelope invites the "beggar," who has news of Odysseus, to visit her later. Penelope then gets mad at Telemachus for letting the suitors make fun of the stranger.

Later, when the suitors leave, Odysseus and Telemachus plan their strategy. Then, Penelope talks to the disguised Odysseus about himself. When Penelope asks the old nurse, Eurycleia, to wash Odysseus’ feet, the nurse recognizes Odysseus by a scar on his leg. Odysseus swears Eurycleia to secrecy, and Athena casts a spell on Penelope so she won’t remember.

Odysseus really wants to kill all of the suitors, but he fears the revenge of their friends, Athena assures him: all of the suitors will die. Penelope devises a test for her suitors among whom is the "beggar." They must string Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow through the holes in 12 ax handles in a row. After all of suitors try and fail, Odysseus steps up and asks to try. The suitors make fun of him, but Penelope intercedes. Odysseus strings the bow and shoots the arrow through the 12 axes.

Since Odysseus wanted to reclaim his kingdom he killed all of the suitors. He prayed to Apollo, the god of archery. Odysseus first drew an arrow at Antinous. Antinuos was the meanest of the suitors, and the ringleader. Odysseus’s arrow hit him below the chin and he fell backwards to his death.

Because Odysseus was fighting, Telemachus, the swineherd, and the cowherd helped him. Athena sent down a thundercloud. The suitors became scared from this and ran towards the door. They all got killed.

Since the maids were associating with the suitors he orders them to dispose of the dead. Then Telemachus hangs them in the courtyard as their payment for not being loyal to Odysseus.

Odysseus gets his revenge on all the suitors in this book. He turns on Antinous first because he was ridiculing Odysseus and was the meanest of all the suitors. So when Antinous goes to sip his wine, Odysseus kills him by shooting him in the throat with his arrow. The suitors' anger flares when he does this, but it soon turns to fear when Odysseus tells them what he has in store for them. The suitors plead with him telling him Antinous made them do it all, but Odysseus doesn't believe them, nor does he care. So Odysseus fightes the men with his son. Telemaches by his side. The swineherd and the cowherd help too. The Athena sends down a thundercloud to sheild Odysseus. The suitors run madly, trying to get free of the hall of hell. But it was hopeless, none made it out alive.

Odysseus calls forth all of the distrustful maids next, and makes them clean up all the bodies. Then Telemachus shows his graditude to the maids by hanging them in the courtyard.

Eurycleia runs to get Penelope to tell her the good news: "Odysseus is back!" But Penelope doesn't know if she can trust this stranger.

Amused, Odysseus orders Eurynome to bath him so he can get all his dirt tattered cloths off. Athena returns his good looks and then Penelope gives him the test to see if he really is Odysseus. Penelope tells Eurycleia to move the bed,but Odysseus gets mad and says she can't cause he made that bed in the tree. So Penelope sees it is Odysseus because no one else knows that.

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