Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy. Many were the men whose cities he saw and whose mind he learned, aye, and many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the sea,  seeking to win his own life and the return of his comrades. Yet even so he saved not his comrades, though he desired it sore, for through their own blind folly they perished—fools, who devoured the kine of Helios Hyperion; but he took from them the day of their returning.  Of these things, goddess, daughter of Zeus, beginning where thou wilt, tell thou even unto us. Now all the rest, as many as had escaped sheer destruction, were at home, safe from both war and sea, but Odysseus alone, filled with longing for his return and for his wife, did the queenly nymph Calypso, that bright goddess…
Book opens with the narrator asking for inspiration from his muse.
Odysseus has not returned home to Ithaca since the battle of Troy.
Many suitors are pursuing his wife, Penelope, who is faithful to him.
His son, Telemachus, wants to get rid of them but is afraid to.
Calypso, a nymph, has imprisoned Odyssues.
The gods discuss what to do with him
Telemachus finds out (with Athena’s help) where Odysseus is after sailing to multiple kingdoms and hearing the accounts of his father’s exploits at Troy.
One of the suitors plots to kill him
Zeus sends Hermes to rescue Odysseus, after the gods hold council (Athena delivers her opinion that the male gods have a double standard about affairs with humans)
He builds a ship to sail him, but Poseidon, wrecks the ship. (Odysseus blinded the god’s Cyclops son). Ino and Athena save him.
Odysseus lands on Scheria.
He meets a naked princess and handmaiden and Athena causes the princess to begin to fall in love with him.
The royal family wants to hear his story (after the king offers him his daughter in marriage.)
A bard (blind, like Homer allegedly was) sings about the enmity between Odysseus and Achilles.
Odysseus and his men plunder Cicones, but stay too long and are defeated, losing 6 men from each ship.
Zeus sends a storm that washes them to the lond of the Lotus Eaters. Once they eat the fruit they lose all desire to go home. Odysseus has to lock up the men to get them off the island.
Cyclops – the men tell Odysseus to grab food and hurry off, but he decides to take his time. Polyphemus eats two of Odysseus’ men and imprisons the rest. They escape by getting the giant drunk, driving a stake into his eye, then cling to the belly of sheep to escape. The giant calls out to his father, Poseidon, for revenge.
They get a bag of the winds from Aeolus, and they are almost home when shipmates tear open the bag and they are blown all the way back to him.
The giant Laestrygonians destroy all of the ships except Odysseus’
Circe turns a number of his men into pigs, but with Hermes help, he gets her to change them back. Odysseus becomes her lover and they live in luxury with her for a year. Circe tells him he must sail to Hades to speak with Tiresias (a blind prophet) for directions.
Elpenor, drunk, fell from the roof and broke his neck.
They sail to the River of Ocean and he performs the ceremony to attract the dead. First he sees Elpenor, then Tiresias tells him he will get home, but that if he touches the flocks of the sun, it will be much harder and all of his crew will die.
He sees his mother, too, and then a series of heroes. Soon he is mobbed by dead wanting to know about their relatives, so he flees.
He returns for one night with Circe and to bury Elpanor.
She tells him how to negotiate the next challenges.
Sirens – the men’s ears are plugged with bees wax to get past them
Odysseus keeps the ships by the Scylla to avoid the Charybdis. Sure enough, six men are devoured.
He wants to bypass the island of the Sun, but the men convince him to stay. They are stranded and end up eating the cattle of the Sun while Odysseus sleeps. When they leave, Zeus sends another storm, destroying the ship and killing all the crew. Only Odysseus survives… and is washed onto Calypso’s island.
After the story, he gets back to Ithaca, disguised as a beggar.
Poseidon turns the ship that helped him to stone.
His old swineherd (Eumaeus) welcomes him.
He find his son
They plan to kill the suitors
Still disguised, he is insulted by the suitors and engages in a boxing match with Irus (defeating him with Athena’s help) Athena also continues to ramp up the conflict.
His old nurse recognizes him
Penelope suspects it is he
She creates an archery contest only Odysseus could win
Odysseus asks for an omen and receives a clap of thunder and hears a servant cursing the suitors
There are a series of dreams and omens including the vision of the suitors being deformed and bloody at the meal. Athena is still ramping up the anger…
Odysseus shoots the lead suitor (which they at first think is an accident)
In a pitched battle Telemachus and some servants kill the suitors, especially once Athena joins in.
Finally, unfaithful servants are killed
Penelope slept through the entire thing
Odysseus is worried about what will happen once the noble find out their sons are all dead.
The suitor’s souls enter Hades, interrupting Agamemnon and Achilles arguing about the best death.
He goes to visit his father (Laertes)
The goddess Rumor spreads news of the slaughter.
Family of the suitors attack them
Odysseus and Laertes defeat them, but mostly through Athena’s causing the Ithacans to forget their sons and recognize Odysseus as king, thus, Athena restores peace.