Odyssey Characters

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All of the characters we need to know for the final.

Odysseus

- son of Laertes, wife of Penelope, father of Telemachus, king of Ithaca and the surrounding islands

Penelope

- Odysseus's wife, mother of Telemachus, queen

Telemachus

- son of Odysseus and Penelope, heir to the throne

Laertes

- Odysseus's father, who resides on a farm in Ithaca. In despair and physical decline, Laertes regains his spirit when Odysseus returns and eventually kills Antinous's father

Mentor

- friend of Odysseus often impersonated by Athena

Eurycleia

- Old nurse of Odysseus and Telemachus, attendant of Penelope, found Odysseus's scar bathing him

Muse

- "sing to me of the man, muse, the man of twists and turns; goddess, daughter of zeus, 1 of 9

Zeus

- king of the gods, father to Athena and the Muse

Athena

- goddess, daughter of Zeus, defender of the Achaeans; watches after Odysseus and Telemachus

Poseidon

- god of the sea, younger brother of Zeus, father of Polyphemus, through out the book is an enemy of Odysseus

Ithaca

- home to Odysseus and Telemachus, Ionian island off the west coast of Greece

Pylos

-Nestor's capital city

Nestor

- king of Pylos and a former warrior in the Trojan War. Like Odysseus, Nestor is known as a clever speaker. Telemachus visits him in Book 3 to ask about his father, but Nestor knows little of Odysseus's whereabouts.

Sparta

- capital city of Lacedaemon, home of Menelaus and Helen

Menelaus

- brother of Agamemnon, husband of helen

Helen

- consort of Paris; her abduction by him from Sparta caused the Trojan War

Agamemnon

- husband of Clytemnestra, murder by her and Aegisthus, supreme commander of all Achaea's armies and leader of the largest contingent at Troy

Clytemnestra

- queen of Argos, wife of Agamemnon whom she killed with her lover, Aegisthus,

Aegisthus

- seducer of Clytemnestra and murderer of Agamemnon, revenged by Orestes

Orestes

- son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, avenged his father

Calypso

- goddess-nymph who makes her home on Ogygia and kept Odysseus there for 10 years

Nausicaa

- daughter of Alcinous and Arete, finds Odysseus once he makes it to land

Arete

- queen of Phaeacia, mother of Nausicaa, husband to Alcinous

Alcinous

- king of the Phaeacians, where Odysseus told his story, sent Odysseus with gold to Ithaca, and he finally made it there but then Poseidon destroyed their ship

Phaeacians

- under the rule of Arete and Alcinous, including BroadSea

Broadsea

- Phaeacian who mocks Odysseus, saying that he must be terrible at contests when he declines to play, but then Odysseus chucks a discus and shows him up

Cicones

- people who Odysseus sacks right after leaving Troy, then reinforcements come while Odysseus's men are unprepared; Trojan allies

Lotus Eaters

- legendary people visited by Odysseus, they live on a plant whose fruit induces stupor and forgetfulness of home; danger Odysseus's return home even though it isn't physically dangerous, Odysseus has to carry some crewmen back to the boat

Cyclops

- a cannibal clan of one-eyed giants, where Odysseus lands and goes with some of his men to explore, he ends up in Polyphemus's cave

Polyphemus

- son of Poseidon, Odysseus escapes after blinding him and tricking him but going under the sheep, and then taunts him as he leaves; Polyphemus gets mad and prays to his dad (Poseidon) who then deters the rest of Odysseus's return home

Aeolus

- master of the winds, gives Odysseus a bag with winds, while Odysseus is asleep the crew open it and are blown back to Aeolus who shun them.

Laestrygonians

- legendary clan of giant cannibals,

Circe

- goddess and enchantress who turns the men to swine, and then houses them for a year

Elpenor

- dies falling of the roof of Circe's house, the crew returns to bury him

Tiresias

- blind seer of Thebes, who retains his prophetic powers even in the underworld where Odysseus visits him and he warns him of Helio's cattle

Achilles

- commander of the Myrmidons, Achaean allies, at troy; traded a long life for a short and glorious one; Achilles was an Archean warrior, who fought alongside Odysseus until he was killed by an arrow to the heel; he appears in the land of the dead in Book 11, and has a conversation with Odysseus; he treats Odysseus like a friend, and is kind and respectful, through this conversation Odysseus learns some of the realities of the afterlife and that he is not invincible.

Sirens

- enchantress of the see whose song can tempt a sailor to his ruin; to pass it the crew plugs their ears with beeswax and Odysseus listens while tied to the mast

Charybdis

- monster in the form of a giant whirlpool, located across from Scylla

Scylla

- 6 headed man-eating monster that lives in a Cliffside cavern opposite the whirlpool of Charybdis; takes some of the crew but the rest make it past

Eumaeus

- swineherd of Odysseus; stays very loyal to Odysseus, Telemachus and Laertes; provides Odysseus with a place to stay; delivers Penelope message of Telemachus's return.

Argos

- Odysseus's dog, who dies when he sees Odysseus, but is the first to recognize him

Antinous

- the leading suitor, he is rude, obnoxious, and greedy. Antinous leads the suitors to invade the palace, eat all the food and tries to marry Penelope; in Book 18, Antinous tries to host Odysseus, but is reminded that he is not the host by Telemachus; he tries to kill Telemachus on his return, which Athena stops, and is the first to be killed by Odysseus

Eurymachus

- 2nd leading suitor to Antinous, tries to regroup the suitors after Antinous is killed, but then he is killed 2nd,

Melanthius

- disloyal rude goatherd; insults Odysseus when he walks by him as a beggar, and is the last to be killed, after he gets weapons for the suitors, and is punished by torture

Irus

- nickname of a fat, greedy, provoking Ithacan beggar, beat up by Odysseus, but he makes sure that he doesn't kill him, and the victory gains him access to inside his own house

Philoetius

- loyal cowherd; keeps hope

Phemius

- Ithacan bard who is spared because they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, he didn't try to get Penelope

Medon

- prophet who was spared, he didn't try to get Penelope

Hermes

- messenger god, guide of dead souls to the underworld

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