Homer lets us know right away that Odysseus is being held as a willing sex captive on the island of the goddess Kalypso. Oh, and sea god Poseidon is ticked off at Odysseus, and sees no reason to let him get home. She tells him to go looking for news of his missing father, so he heads to Pylos to visit King Nestor.
In the early books, Telemakhos travels to Nestor and Menalaos hoping for news of his father, and he hears how greatly they esteem him.
Both men fought alongside Odysseus in the Trojan War and recount his heroic actions to Telemakhos. Odysseus is a man of keen intelligence, who used that intelligence to outwit the Trojans at every turn.
Many passages in the Odyssey describe Odysseus's leadership style, although the accounts vary. He had no rivals, your father, at the tricks of war. Helen tells a story of how Odysseus dressed himself as a beggar to slip into the city of Troy and spy on the army there.
Menelaos tells Telemakhos of the famous Trojan Horse, a plan Odysseus masterminded with "cold nerve. Odysseus himself seems to have a somewhat different view of his leadership style when he recounts his ten years' woe to the Phaiakian court: What of my sailing, then, from Troy?
What of those years of rough adventure, weathered under Zeus? The numerous misadventures he and his crew meet highlight Odysseus's strengths—and frailties—as a leader.
He is a brilliant tactician, quick on his feet, and able to assess a situation and adapt to it rapidly, but he does not always inspire unfailing loyalty from his men.
When they initially sail from Troy, they stop on their way home to raid an island. Odysseus wants to take their spoils and go, but, as he says, My men were mutinous, fools, on stores of wine.
Odysseus encounters this mutinous mood from his crew a few times during his wanderings, suggesting that while he himself is highly disciplined, he does not have perfect authority over the people under his command. When he sends scouts out into the Land of the Lotos-Eaters to see what the country is like, they fall under the spell of the narcotic and have to be dragged back to the ships.
When he gets the bag of wind from Aiolos, he stays awake for nine full days to steer his ships back to Ithaka with the magical winds, but on the tenth day, he needs to rest, and his crew immediately break into the bag to see what Odysseus has got in there: How about ourselves— his shipmates all the way?
Nigh home we are with empty hands. And who has gifts from Aiolos? Are you flesh and blood, Odysseus, to endure more than a man can? Do you never tire? I say do as the hour demands and go ashore before black night comes down. Odysseus has been warned that the cattle which graze on this island belong to the sun god, Helios, and killing them incurs the god's wrath.
Odysseus is afraid his men will kill the cattle for food and makes them swear they will do no such thing. After weeks of driving rain, however, the men have eaten all the ship's rations and are starving.
As soon as Odysseus is out of sight, they break their oath to him and kill the cattle, for which Zeus destroys them with a thunderbolt. Odysseus is the sole survivor of all the men he left with from Troy.
In between bouts of mutiny, Odysseus's leadership is only truly asserted at times of crisis: At these times, Odysseus takes full control of the situation, and his men do exactly as he commands, knowing that their lives depend on his quick thinking. When Odysseus returns to Ithaka, he does not raise an army to retake his home but once again steals in softly, like a spy, to see what the situation is.
He does not trust easily, and he prefers to act alone. This may be the reason his men do not trust him unless the situation demands it. He lies to his friends, his son, and his wife in order to gain the information he needs.
He is a careful, calculating man and only enlists the help of others if he absolutely must. Ultimately, all of Odysseus's strategies succeed, but it's arguable whether he has displayed "leadership" in enacting them.Addresses The Odyssey as allegory, presenting a commentary and summary of the work.
Supports points with material from Greek scholars. Supports points with material from Greek scholars. General researchers will find particularly interesting its focus on Homer as theologian.
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The Odyssey summary key points: Odysseus’s son Telemachus sneaks off the island to find his father. Menelaus tells him that Odysseus is being held captive by Calypso. Find related themes, quotes, symbols, characters, and more. Close. Need help with Book 1 in Homer's The Odyssey? Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis.
The Odyssey Book 1 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes The Odyssey Book 1 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes. Homer ’s 8th century BCE oral narrative of a warrior’s decades-long quest to return home defines epic poetry. Together with its companion poem The Iliad, The Odyssey describes the action and aftermath of the Trojan Wars, andis the model for the heroic quest.
Read a character analysis of Odysseus, plot summary, and important quotes. The Odyssey study guide contains a biography of Homer, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. About The Odyssey The Odyssey Summary.