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Summary of The Odyssey Book
If you’re looking to read The Odyssey full book, then here’s a quick summary of what to expect, so you know the lay of the land before you get into it.
The story of Homer and the Odyssey dates back to ancient Greece. Homer, a blind poet, is largest recognized as the author of this work, although it is probable that the legend was widely known through an oral storytelling tradition for generations before Homer penned it.
It is a companion book to the Iliad. In the Iliad, Homer recounts the story of the Trojan War, including the capture and marriage of Helen and the subsequent Greek invasion of Troy. The story focuses on a number of epic heroes, including Odysseus, Achilles, Paris and Hector, and the ultimate Greek victory through the use of the now infamous “Trojan Horse.”
In The Odyssey, Homer focuses almost exclusively on a single hero: Odysseus, as he tells of the 10 year voyage back to Greece and his wife Penelope.
Along the way, Odysseus encounters a number of obstacles and mythological creatures, which threaten his return and delay him on his journey.
The Odyssey Famous Quotes
- “Tell me, Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered far and wide after he had sacked Troy’s sacred city, and saw the towns of many men and knew their mind.” Opening lines.
- “‘My word, how mortals take the gods to task! All their afflictions come from us, we hear. And what of their own failings? Greed and folly double the suffering in the lot of man. “
- “Jove weighs affairs of earth in dubious scales, And the good suffers while the bad prevails.” Book 6
- “Earth sounds my wisdom, and high heaven my fame.” Book 9
- “The melancholy joys of evils pass’d, For he who much has suffer’d, much will know.” Book 15
- “For too much rest itself becomes a pain.” Book 15
- “And rest at last where souls unbodied dwell, In ever-flowing meads of Asphodel.” Book 24
The Odyssey Main Events
Some of the challenges Odysseus and his crew face are:
- Attacking the Cicons,
- The Lotus Eaters, which cause them to forget about their journey home,
- Confrontation with the Cyclops, where Odysseus stabs his eye,
- The bag of wind that blows them off course,
- Catastrophe with the Laestrygonians where Odysseus loses all ships except 1,
- Goddess Circe turns Odysseus’ men into swine,
- Odysseus journeys into the Underworld,
- The crew passes the multi-headed monster Scylla and whirlpool monster Charybdis,
- The crew, nearly dying from starvation, eat Helios’ (the sun god) cattle,
- Odysseus loses all of his men and washes up on Calypso’s island,
- Calypso hold Odysseus prisoner until Hermes forces her to release him, and
- Finally Odysseus returns home to Ithaca, where he must win his wife Penelope back by completing the trial of the axes and battling her other suitors.
These events, presented chronologically in the list above, are divided into a set of 24 books. To download The Odyssey unabridged, and listen to the full story online or via mp3, click the link below.