The Odyssey in Order A summary of the book as an introduction to Book IX.
The Odyssey starts in the middle • There are nearly 20 years of background to be revealed when the Gods meet to discuss Odysseus’ fate in Book 1. • Odysseus left his home • Spent 10 years fighting in the Trojan war (the Trojan horse was his idea) • 3 years being lost at sea • 7 years trapped on an island with calypso, a goddess • Poseidon hates Ulysses and doesn’t want him to go home • Athena convinces Zeus to let him go home
The odyssey has two heroes • Telemachus is Odysseus’ son and is losing his kingdom to men who want to force his mother to marry one of them. They assume Odysseus is dead and want to become king of Ithaca before Telemachus becomes old enough to rule. • Telemachus Journeys to other Kingdoms to find out what happened to his Father and gain allies to help him fight off the suitors. With the council of Athena disguised as Mentor, an old and wise friend of Odysseus, Telemachus grows as a man and avoids assassination. • This is much of the material contained in books 1-4 and occurs while Odysseus is trapped on the island with calypso and his escape from the island.
Meanwhile… • In books 5-8: • Odysseus, with the aid of some of the gods, escapes calypso’s island on a raft • He is spotted by Poseidon who creates a storm and would have killed Odysseus if it weren’t for goddesses Athena and Ino • He washes up on the shore of the Phaeacians and is aided by Naussica, the daughter of King Alcinous • He is a guest there for a few days, keeping his identity a secret but unable to hide his heroic traits. • Finally, King Alcinous asks who he really is.
TIMELINE Book IX starts with Odysseus telling King Alcinous who he is and where he’s been.