The Odyssey Books 1-4

The Odyssey written by Homer starts 10 years after Trojan War. It summarizes the war and how all of the soldiers have returned home, except Odysseus. He is trapped on an island Ogygia, with the goddess Calypso.


Penelope is grieving over Odysseus thinking he is dead from the war.

  • Suitors are all over Penelope asking for her hand in marriage
  • Telemachus (Odysseus's son) is trying to fend off the suitors

Telemachus's Journey

Athena travels to Ithaca and approaches Telemachus in disguise. She declares that Odysseus is still alive and that Telemachus must travel to Pylos and Sparta to find news of his father.

  • Telemachus puts together an assembly for the suitors
  • Announces the banishment of the suitors
  • Antinous and Eurymachus (suitors) dislike the idea of the assembly

The next day at the assembly an elder man, Aegyptius, praises Telemachus for standing up in his father's place while he is away. Telemachus then talks about how the loss for Odysseus is affecting his mother and that his land is infested with men. Antinous blames Penelope for all the men because she, apparently, seduces every man. At that moment a pair of eagles, in combat, fly overhead. Halitherses, a soothsayer, interprets this as sign of Odysseus's return. He warns the suitors that if they don't leave they will face a massacre.

Telemachus sets out on his journey to Pylos and Sparta with the crew that Athena has given him.


At Pylos, Telemachus approaches Nestor, the city's king, and asks him about Odysseus. Sadly, he has no information.

What Nestor recalls after the fall of Troy

  • Agamemnon and Menelaus led the journey
  • Menelaus set sail for Greece
  • Agamemnon decided to stay with Odysseus at his side


Nestor explains to Telemachus that when Agamemnon returned from Troy, Aegisthus, married his wife Clytemnestra. Clytemnestra came up with the plan for Aegisthus to murder Agamemnon. Aegisthus was suppose to take over the kingdom until Orestes, Agamemnon's son, killed both Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. After telling him this story, Nestor sends his son, Pisistratus, with Telemachus on his journey to Sparta. Athena then sheds her human form into an eagle in front of the whole city of Pylos. Athena then stays back to protect Telemachus's crew and ship.

At Sparta, the king and queen. Helen and Menelaus, welcome Pisistratus and Telemachus. They recognize Telemachus as Odysseus's son. Helen recalls all these war stories about Odysseus and his crazy plots. Menelaus then remembers his own story from the war. When he was coming back from Troy he got stranded in Egypt, and was forced to capture Proteus (Old Man of the Sea). Proteus then told Menelaus of Agamemnon and Odysseus's fate. He told him that he was still alive, but imprisoned by Calypso. Telemachus is overjoyed by the news. and him and Pisistratus head back to Pylos so Telemachus can go back to Ithaca.

The suitors learn of Telemachus's journey to Pylos and Sparta and plan to kill him in surprise when he returns. Penelope is told by her trusted friend Medon of the suitors plans. She is sad and does not want to lose of the most important men in her life. Athena is disguised as Penelope's sister, Iphthime, and reassures Penelope that gods and goddesses are there to protect them

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