If The Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, then The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey though life. Odysseus's reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces during his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after...
Odysseus (Ulysses): The main character, whose story is followed for the majority of the book, is followed from the end of the Trojan War in "The Iliad" on his journey home to his family. He is waylaid time and again, and must use his wit and intellect to get himself out of many dire situations. Odysseus is often viewed as the quintessential archetype representing the Ancient Greeks.
Telemachos: Odysseus’s son. An infant when Odysseus left for Troy, Telemachus is about twenty at the beginning of the story. He is a natural obstacle to the suitors desperately courting his mother, but despite his courage and good heart, he initially lacks the poise and confidence to oppose them.
Zeus: is the "Father of Gods and men", according to Hesiod's Theogony, who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family; he was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. As Walter Burkert points out in his book, Greek Religion, "Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rise in his presence.
Nausicaa: In Homer's Odyssey she is the daughter of King Alcinous and Queen Arete of Phaeacia. Her name, in Greek, means "burner of ships".
Penelope: is the faithful wife of Odysseus, who keeps her suitors at bay in his long absence and is eventually reunited with him.Her name has traditionally been associated with faithfulness, and so it was with the Greeks and Romans, but some recent feminist readings offer a more ambiguous interpretation.
Achilles: Leading Greek hero the Trojan War. He was killed in the last days of the siege of Troy by an arrow wound in his only vulnerable spot, his heel. Hence the expression ‘Achilles heel’ for a point of vulnerability in a person or plan.
Nestor: he son of Neleus and Chloris and the King of Pylos. He became king after Heracles killed Neleus and all of Nestor's siblings.
King Alcinous: King of the Phaiakians of the Island Scheria, husband to Arete.
Hera: In Greek mythology, Hera is the mother-goddess. She is the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage.
Hephaistos: Another spelling of Hephaestos, the greek god of smiths
Diomedes: Greek hero of the Trojan War. King of Argos, he is regarded alongside Ajax as one of the best warriors of all the Greek warriors.
Menelaos: King of Sparta, brother to Agamemnon, husband of Helen.
Agamemnon: The son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus. When Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was abducted by Paris of Troy, Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan War.
Helen of Troy: Wife of Menelaus and queen of Sparta. Helen’s abduction from Sparta by the Trojans sparked the Trojan War. Her beauty is without parallel, but she is criticized for giving in to her Trojan captors and thereby costing many Greek men their lives. She offers Telemachus assistance in his quest to find his father.
Athenæan Pallas: Goddess of Wisdom, patroness of Odysseus , helps him to be able to return home, also goddess of military strategy.
“And with these words the goddess of gleaming eyes departed to Olympus. There, men say, the home of the gods is secretly set for ever, unrocked by tempest, undrenched with rain, unassailed by snow; a cloudless sky stretches out above and a white radiance is everywhere. It is in this place that the blessed gods take their pleasure through all their days...”
Ithaca: Odysseus' homeland, a rocky island on the west coast of Greece
Troy: Ancient and mythical city/state located on the northwest coast of present day Turkey. It is best known for being the setting of the Trojan War described in the Greek mythology and especially in the Iliad. Also known as Illium
The man, my Muse, resourceful, driven a long way after he sacked the holy city of Trojans: tell me all the men's cities he saw and the man's minds, how often he suffered heartfelt pain on the broad sea, striving for life and away back home for his war-friends.
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