The Odyssey begins in Ithaca, where Telemachus is having many difficulties. His mother’s suitors are eating him out of house and home, and refuse to leave until one of them is married to her. Telemachus then decides to leave Ithaca in search of his father, Odysseus. When the suitors hear of this, they decide to ambush and kill Telemachus on his way back to Ithaca. They are determined to take the wealth of Odysseus’ family for themselves.
While this is going on, Odysseus is going through his own trials. On the island of Ogygia, the Nymph Claypso had been holding Odysseus captive for a very long time. After seven years, the gods feel sorry for Odysseus, and the Nymph is forced to set him free. Odysseus sets sail in a raft and starts for Ithaca. However, Poseidon is angry with Odysseus and destroys his raft in a storm. Instead of going to Ithaca, Odysseus is forced to land in Scherie. While staying on Scherie with the Phaeacians, Odysseus tells the story of what he’s been through during the past ten years.
First, Odysseus and his crew arrived at the island of the Cyclops. After a Cyclops tried to kill and eat them, they fled as quickly as they could. Odysseus and his crew next went to the land of Aeolia, where Odysseus was presented with the four winds trapped in a bag. They set sail again, but as Ithaca came into sight the curious crew opened the bag. Their ship was immediately blown far off course. Then, Odysseus went down to Hades and spoke with many people that he had once known. He heard news about what was happening in Ithaca. After that, the ship turned back towards Ithaca and stopped at the Island of the Sun. When they became hungry, Odysseus’ men killed and ate some of the Sun’s cows. As punishment, Zeus killed all of the men except for Odysseus himself. Odysseus eventually landed on the Nymph Calypso’s island. After seven years he was set free and landed on Scherie.
The Phaeacians are moved by Odysseus’ story, and agree to take him to Ithaca on a ship. They take him there and return to Scherie. Sadly, along the way Poseidon turns their ship to stone in order to teach them not to help all strangers who came their way. While walking about in Ithaca, Athene appears and transforms Odysseus into an old man so that no one will recognize him. He goes to his old swineherd’s house in order to learn what is going on at his house, and learns about the suitors. Soon after, Telemachus arrives back in Ithaca; the suitor’s plans to kill him had been foiled. Odysseus goes to his house to see what he should do; disguised as an old beggar, Odysseus listens to the suitors and determines what he needs to do to rid his house of them. After revealing himself to his son, the swineherd, and his servant who cared for the cows, Odysseus attacks the suitors. He is extraordinarily angry with them for courting his wife and wasting his money, and kills them all. Once they hear of the attack, the fathers of the suitors are extremely upset that Odysseus has killed their sons. They are about to attack Odysseus when Athene stepped in. Athene asks that there be no more bloodshed, and peace is established between Odysseus and his subjects.