Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

The Odyssey


Odysseus, the Hero of Ithaca

This translation to English by Samuel Butler (1835-1902) was first published in 1900.

"Rendered into English prose for the use of those who cannot read the original"

Partly a sequel to Iliad, Odyssey is the epic mythological journey of Odysseus (his Roman name is Ulysses). "Odysseus the Cunning" is the son of Laertes and Anticlea. After sacking the city of Troy by masterfully gaining entrance to the city with a wooden Trojan Horse, his journey to return home to Ithaca after the battle of Troy takes ten years. Among his many trials during this quest, Odysseus must first escape imprisonment by Calypso on the island of Ogygia, endure a battle with the Cyclops, survive a descent to Hades, and suffer the god Neptune's bitter wrath at sea. He goes through many trials, all the while Penelope his wife faithfully waiting for him but not knowing if he is still alive. With the help of Hermes and Zeus, and his son Telemachus, Odysseus is finally home, in his rightful place at the palace, "Hero of Ithaca". Unlike Iliad, Odyssey is written in more of a conversational story-telling style. It is a tale of exile, longing, temptation, patience, and cunning. It is also a timeless tale of everyman's journey to 'home', be it a spiritual goal or a given place. Odyssey has directly influenced other such classic works of literature including Dante Alighieri's 14th century Inferno, Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605), Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1902), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum, "Sinbad the Sailor" from Arabian Nights, Ezra Pound's The Cantos (1922), and James Joyce's Ulysses (1922).

One of the greatest works of literature to be written, this is an epic poem attributed to the blind poet Homer. Written as a sequel to the Iliad, the Odyssey tells of the long journey by the Greek hero Odysseus. He has just fought in the Trojan War, and now, along with his men, is returning home. Altogether, it takes Odysseus twenty years to return. His journey begins in Troy. On his return home he faces cyclops, lotus-eaters, sea monsters, and hostile giants. After getting through all these adventures, the hero finds himself trapped by a goddess on an island. Meanwhile, in Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, suitors have thronged his palace and are each trying to win the hand of Odysseus' wife Penelope. His son Telemachos believes that his father is still alive, and so, aided by the goddess Athena, sets out on a quest to find him.--Submitted by Bethany

The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second--the Iliad being the first--extant work of Western literature. It was probably composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia. The poem mainly centres on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths) and his long journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed he has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage. It continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. Many scholars believe that the original poem was composed in an oral tradition by an aoidos (epic poet/singer), perhaps a rhapsode (professional performer), and was more likely intended to be heard than read. The details of the ancient oral performance, and the story's conversion to a written work inspire continual debate among scholars. The Odyssey was written in a regionless poetic dialect of Greek and comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter. Among the most impressive elements of the text are its non-linear plot, and the influence on events of choices made by women and serfs, besides the actions of fighting men. In the English language as well as many others, the word odyssey has come to refer to an epic voyage.--Submitted by Ledezma Brownpride13

Fan of this book? Help us introduce it to others by writing a better introduction for it. It's quick and easy, click here.

Recent Forum Posts on The Odyssey

Penelope's weaving in the Odyssey

I need help writing a short paper on Penelope of how she copes with the loss of Odysseus through her weaving.

The Odyssey: Prose VS Verse

I was planning on reading The Odyssey again in preparation for Ulysses (I read it in verse form in high school) and figured I'd read the Samuel Butler prose translation this time. I was just curious, what are the pros and cons of reading it in prose vs. verse (aside from the obvious; that its original form is verse)? Just curious. Is the prose form basically rearrangement of the verse, or is there more drastic changes?

Need Major Help!

What were the things Odysseus' learned at each place he visted and how did he get to each place? So far I have the Cicones for both, the Cyclops for the lesson he learned, but I still need the Lotus Eaters and the rest that came after the Cyclops.

adventures in the odyssey

can anyone tell me about the adventures in the odyssey? i have an english project due tomorrow on it.

Understanding Odyssey

1. What does the Odyssey give greater weight? Cite folklore motifs to support your answer. 2. What does the meeting of the assembly at Ithaca illustrate? What political organization is featured? 3. Why does not Telemachus become king of Ithaca? Why does not Laertes, Father of Oddyseus, come out of retirement to take over the reins of government and save Penelope from all her difficulties with the suitors? 4. Throughout the Odyssey, Homer contrasts the legend about the coming of Agamemnon with the story of Odysseus. What could be his purpose? 5. What transformation has taken place in the values and outlooks of the heroes of the Trojan war as manifested by Menelaus and his wife Helen? 6. In what way is Odysseus different from the typical epic hero? In your opinion, can he be considered the first “modern man”? 7. How can you interpret the wanderings and adventures of Odysseus in the year after the fall of Troy? 8. Describe the land of the Phaecians. What does it symbolize? What do Achaians and Arete idolize? Books 7-12 1. What does the raid on Cicone city of Ismaurus by Odysseus and his men demonstrate? 2. What can you associate with the lotus plant? Why do those who eat it quickly lose all memory? 3. What does the episode with the cyclops Polyphemus symbolize? 4. What does the crew of Odysseus symbolize in the episode of the bay of the winds given by Aeolus? What lesson is important? 5. What motif in European folklore is common and similar with Odysseus encounter with Circe? Can you think of a folktale that is familiar variant of the episode? 6. What other stories in Greek mythology parallels the visit of Odysseus to Hades? How do you regard this episode? 7. How do you view Odysseus? Encounter with the Sirens? What kind of test did he undergo? 8. Compare/ contrast the obstacles that Odysseus and his crew encountered on the island of the sirens and seylla and Charybdis. What kind of test did Odysseus master in Seylla and Charybdis?

I need a specific edition of The Odyssey

Does anyone know where I can find the "Red Reader", "Teacher's Discovery 2005" edition of the odyssey. The ISBN is 075600338-8 and the bar code is 9 780756 003388. I can't find it at either B&N or Amazon and have checked both the bar code and ISBN online (search) and can't find it anywhere. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks. :bawling:

Help with Book 22 Lines 390 - 419 Please!

Hi everyone! Just looking for some help, I have to write only a 500 word essay on the internal structure, external connections, larger significance, also any intrinsic literary properties of this passage. But I'm really stuck. Book 22 Line 390 - 419 'Then Odysseus said to Telemachus: "Now call Euryleia.............which of them are disloyal to and which are innocent." (pp.340-341 - Penguin) or (p.274, Oxford world's classics edition.) Any help would be really greatly appreciated! Thanks heaps

Homework on The Odyssey

Odyssey Homework (And A Few Others) I have some homework on the Odyssey (Questions) that were assigned to me when we covered the book. The answers are not the greatest but hope they help :) Leave a message if there are problems/comments/anything else :)


hi guys, can u show me where I can buy the Book?


What happened right before the end?:confused:

Post a New Comment/Question on The Odyssey

Related links for Homer

Here is where you find links to related content on this site or other sites, possibly including full books or essays about Homer written by other authors featured on this site.