The Odyssey Summary Part One : Pages 650-670 An Invocation: “Tell the Story”


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The Odyssey Summary

Part One : Pages 650-670

An Invocation: “Tell the Story” p. 651

1. Homer, the author of The Odyssey, begins his story by calling upon the Muse, the goddess of epic poetry, for help and inspiration.

I am Laertes’ Son” p. 656

1. Homer begins the story of Odysseus, not at the beginning and not at the end but in the middle.

2. Odysseus, while with the Phaeacians, began to tell the stories of his adventures at sea.

3. Odysseus expresses his love for his home.


Odysseus’s twelve ships attacked the Cicones.

5. The men became drunk and would not follow Odysseus’ commands.

6. The Cicones’ attacked, drove Odysseus’s men back, and killed many of them.

“The Lotus Eaters” p. 658

1. Ten days Odysseus and his crew drifted and came to the land of the Lotus eaters.

2. Odysseus sent out two men and a runner to learn of the men on the land.

3. The men did not return and Odysseus found them forgetful of home because of eating the lotus plant. He drove them back to the ship, tied them down, and set sail.

The Cyclops” p. 660

1. Odysseus and his men came to the land of the Cyclopes, a race of one-eyed giants.

2. Odysseus’s curiosity led him to take what they wanted but wait to see this giant.

3. The giant, Polyphemus, trapped them inside his cave and devoured them two at a time, six in total.

4. Odysseus hid his identity by saying his name was “Nohbdy.”

5. Odysseus and his men used a sharpened green olive tree, heated in the fire to blind Polyphemus. They got him drunk first and waited for him to go to sleep.

6. They all escaped under the bellies of the sheep when the blinded Polyphemus moved the stone to let his sheep go out to graze.

7. Odysseus’s bragging and identifying himself to Polyphemus led to the revenge Polyphemus prayed to his father, Poseidon.

Sea Perils and Defeat

God of the Winds, Aeolus”

1. Aeolus bagged all of the winds except the west wind and told Odysseus that the west wind would take him home but not to open the bag.

2. After several days at sea, Odysseus fell asleep.

3. His men, believing that there were treasures in the bag, thought that Odysseus was not going to share, opened the bag and released the winds.

4. The winds returned them to Aeolus who refused to help them again.


1. Monstrous cannibals.

2. All killed except Odysseus and the crew on his ship.
Circe” p. 673

1. Circe turned Odysseus’s men into swine.

2. Odysseus’s was given instructions and moly by Hermes to help him save his men.

3. Circe released Odysseus a year later and sent him to the blind prophet Tiresias.

4. Circe warned Odysseus of the Sirens and told him what to do to survive.

Land of the Dead-Tiresias” p. 675

1. Odysseus went to the Land of the Dead with a sacrifice to see the blind prophet Tiresias.

2. Tiresias told Odysseus he would have to venture through Scylla and Charybdis, and then to the land of the sun god Helios.

3. Odysseus was warned not to let his men injure the sun god’s cattle.

4. Odysseus saw his mother while he was in the Land of the Dead and he cried.

5. Odysseus returned to Circe’s where she once again warned him.

Sirens” p. 678

1. Circe instructed Odysseus to have his men place softened beeswax in their ears and tie him to the ship’s mast so that he could hear the sirens’ song.

2. The sound of the sirens’ song would drive sailors crazy and lure them into the rocks and to their death.

3. Odysseus heard the song that had a special message for him but they all safely made it through.

Scylla and Charybdis”

1. The men were not told of the upcoming danger in fear that they would panic.

2. Odysseus steered his men toward Scylla reasoning that he would rather lose six men instead of all.

3. Scylla was a monster with 6 dog heads and Charybdis was a giant whirlpool that would swallow everything around it and then spew it all up.

4. Six of his best men were lost but they made it through.
Cattle of the Sun God” p. 684

1. The tired men complained and demanded to go on shore.

2. Odysseus explained that going on shore could be fatal.

3. Storms continued to rage and the men began to starve.

4. Odysseus had them swear that they would not harm the Sun god’s cattle.

5. Odysseus went inland to pray to the gods, but they put him to sleep.

6. Meanwhile back at the camp, Eurylochus convinced the men that it was better to make sacrifices to the gods, eat and take a chance than to starve.

7. The men killed the cattle, made sacrifices, cooked and ate the beef.

8. Odysseus awoke and feared the worst. He hurried back to the camp and found their

fateful deed. The meat mooed and the skins crawled across the ground

9. Helios demanded justice by Zeus or he would take his sun and leave the face of the earth.

10. When Odysseus and his men left the island, Zeus threw down a thunder bolt, blew up the ship, and killed all except for Odysseus because he did not eat and cattle.

11. Odysseus drifted for nine days on a piece of wood, made it pass Scylla and Charybdis, and washed ashore on the island of Calypso. She kept him there for seven years.

12. Odysseus ends his story (flashback ) to the Phaeacians


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