Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Odyssey - Homer (summary)

As soon as the Trojan War was over, Odysseus, the great Greek hero set out his voyage. Odysseus is not only a great warrior but also a great scholar and traveller. On his way he reached the island of the beautiful goddess Kalypso who seduced the Greek hero to become her lover and prisoner. Odysseus stayed with her long eight years. During this time the people of Ithaca, the island kingdom had been eagerly waiting to welcome their king Odysseus.  A group of rowdy suitors attacked the palace of Odysseus and courted his faithful but weakening wife Penelope. In this miserable situation, Odysseus’s greatest immortal friend goddess Athena asked permission from Zeus to help Odysseus and Zeus granted permission and Athena called Telemakhos, the son of Odysseus and asked him to search for his father at Pylos and Sparta. Telemakhos wandered through the places of Pylos and Sparta meeting the old companions of his father who fought with him in many wars and travelled with him to many places. But they all told him that they have not seen or heard of Odyssus for many years.
Athena found Odysseus in the palace of Kalypso and she released him. Odysseus sets sail on a makeshift raft. But the sea god Posidon was angry with Odysseus and created a tempest to wreck the raft because many years ago Odysseus had blinded Posidon’s son Kyklops Polyphemos. At last with the miraculous help of Athena, Odysseus reached the island of Phaiakians. Odysseus was welcomed by the beautiful princess Nausikas of Phaiakians. Odysseus did not tell her his identity for a long time but finally at the request of the Phaiakians, Odysseus tells them the story of his adventures.
 Odysseus tells them that when the Trojan War was over, Odysseus and his companions suffered more losses at the hands of the Kikones. After that Odysseus and the rest of the companions reached an island of ‘lotus eaters’.  All the people of this island were the addicts of a drug called ‘lotus.’ It is a kind of plant and when you eat the leaves, you fall into a kind of comfortable sleep, forgetting the present past and future. After some years they woke up and resumed their adventurous voyage. It was then Kykolps Polyphemos killed many soldiers of Odysseus. Odysseus made a clever plan to blind Kykolps Polyphemos and escaped with his men. But Odysseus had to disclose his name and identity to Kyklops Polyphemos and thus he started his personal war with Posidon the wind god. Odysseus was helped by Ailos, another wind god with a bagful of wind for his safe journey home to Ithaca the small island. But the crew of the ship greedily opened the bag and the ship was sent wrongly to the land of the giant Laistrygonias who was a man-eating cannibal. Odysseus and his companions had a miraculous escape and continued their voyage.

The ship of Odysseus anchored near the island of the goddess Kirke, who metamorphosed the men of Odysseus to pigs. But Odysseus sought the help of the goddess Hermes and destroyed the magical power of Kirke and turned the pigs once again to human beings. Goddess Hermes was very kind to Odysseus and his men and they stayed on the rich island of Hermes for a year leading luxurious life. Hermes was very fond of Odysseus and she had blind love for him.
 Odysseus had to face the temptations of the seductive and dangerous Seirenes and continued his voyage through the violent waves of the sea. The sea monster Skylla attacked Odysseus but he boldly defeated the sea monster. When his ship reached Kharybdis, the vessel was violently shaken and spun by the whirlpools. The ship plumbed into the depths of Hades. When they reached Hades, they heard the prophecy from the blind seer Teiresias. When they came back to the surface of the sea from the Hades, Odysseus and his men wanted rest because their journey to Hades was very tiresome. They saw a beautiful island called the island of Helios and landed there and took rest for many days. Odysseus asked his men not to touch the oxen on the island. But they disobeyed his orders and touched the oxen.  When their happy holidays were over on the beautiful island, they resumed their voyage again. But a great tragedy awaited them at sea. Zeus punished all the men on the ship. Zeus sent a tempest and all the men except Odysseus were killed. Thus Odysseus reached Kalypso’s island sadder but wiser.
When Odysseus has finished his story, the Phaiakians gave him precious gifts and ferried him home on a ship. Thus after a long voyage, Odysseus reached Ithaca disguised as a beggar. Athena disguises Odysseus as a beggar and instructs him to find out his old swineherd Eumaios because Eumaios can bring Telemakhos back to Ithaca from his travels. With the help of Athena Telemakhos escapes from the attack of the suitors and the son is reunited with his father Odysseus, who reveals his true identity only to his son and swineherd Eumaios.
Odysseus, the clever architect of Trojan horse, devises a clever plan to overthrow the suitors with the help of Telemakhos and the swineherd Eumaios.  In disguise as a beggar, Odysseus, examines and every nook and corner of his palace and observes many things. The suitors and a few of his old servants treat him badly when Odysseus seeks the loyalty of his wife Penelope and other servants. When days pass by Penelope notices many striking resemblances between the beggar and her supposed to be dead husband. So Penelope proposes a contest. She declares that she will marry the suitor who can string her late husband Odysseus’ great bow and shoot an arrow through a dozen oxen-heads.
Only Odysseus can pull of the feat. Bow in hand, he shoots and kills the leader of the suitors Antinoos and reveals his identity that he is no longer a beggar but Odysseus himself. With Telemakhos, the swineherd Eumaios and his goatherd Philoitios at his side, Odysseus killed the rest of the suitors. Athena helps Odysseus in the slaughtering of the suitors. The victorious Odysseus is welcomed by his dearest Penelope only when Odysseus finds out the strange bed built by Odysseus many years ago, removed the last bit of doubt that he was an imposter. Odysseus goes out of town to visit his ailing father Laertes, but an army of the suitors’ relatives come there and attack them. Goddess Athena appears there disguised herself and helps Laertes to kill the ringleader Antinoos’ father. When Antinoos’ father is killed by Odysseus father Laertes, Athena gets command from Zeus to bring peace between the sides and the war is stopped.                                                               Kjt/29-12-2013

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