Odyssey Characters

Odysseus (main character) Son of Laertes and Anticleia, husband of Penelope and father of Telemachus. A cunning, shrewd and eloquent hero. Came up with the idea of the Trojan horse which led the Greeks to victory against Troy. “Man of many wiles”.
Telemachus He was just an infant when his father left home to fight the Trojan War. Spends books 1-4 searching for his father or word of his fathers fate.
Laertes Father of Odysseus
Menelaus Son of Atreus, younger brother of Agamemnon, husband of Helen and ruler of Lacedaemon. Brave warrior.
Agamemnon Son of Atreus, brother of Menelaus, husband of Clytemnestra, and king of Mycenae. Elected commander in chief of the Greeks in the Trojan War. When war was over, he sailed home where he was murdered by Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. Odysseus speaks to his spirit in Hades.
Alcinous King of the Phaeacians, husband of Arete, father of Nausicaa.
Arete The influential wife of Alcinous, queen of the Phaeacians, helped Odysseus greatly, mother of Nausicaa.
Nausicaa The lovely and discreet daughter of Alcinous and Arete.
Argos The faithful and devoted “follower” of Odysseus, was once a great hunter.
Elpenor Youngest member of Odysseus’ crew. The morning of their departure from Circe’s island, he falls from the rooftop and dies. Odysseus meets with his shade in Hades.
Aegisthus Son of Thyestes and lover of Clymnestra. Killed Agamemnon!!!! 8 years after he killed Agamemnon his son Orestes comes to avenge his father by killing not only Aegisthus but his mother Clymnestra as well.
Anticleia Mother of Odysseus, wife of Laertes.
Anticlus Greek warrior who entered Troy in wooden horse.
Aphrodite Goddess of love, fertility and beauty; daughter of Zeus and Dione, unfaithful wife of Hephaestus.
Apollo God of archery, music, prophecy and healing, son of Zeus and Leto. During the war he supported the Trojansand guided Paris’ arrow to kill Achilles. His arros brought sudden painless death.
Athena(Nike!) Sprung out of father Zeus’ head. Supported Greeks in Trojan War. Guided and protected Odysseus on his homeward journey from Troy.
Atreus Father of Agamemnon and Menelaus
Calypso Nymph-goddess daughter of Atlas. She was enamored of Odysseus and kept him with her on Ogygia for seven years, promising him eternal youth and immortality if he stayed with her as her husband.
Cicones People of southern Thrace, who lived on the coast of the Aegean Sea. They were allies of Troy during the Trojan War and their city, Ismarus, was raided by Odysseus and his crew on their way home after the war.
Circe Goddess and enchantress proficient in the use of herbs and drugs. She was the daughter of Helios and Perse and lived on the island of Aeaea.
Clytemnestra Faithless wife of Agamemnon. Half-sister of Helen, became the lover of Aegisthus and together they plotted her husband’s death. She had no respect and did not close his eyes or mouth in death. Was ultimately killed by her son Orestes when he avenged his father.
Demodocus Blind bard of the Phaeacians.
Eumaeus Faithful swineherd of Odysseus.
Eurycleia Bought by Laertes and became Odysseus’ nurse. Later was the nurse attendant of Telemachus.
Hades God of the underworld, one of the sons of Cronos. Odysseus visits his halls during his trials.
Helen Daughter of Zeus and Leda. She was the beautiful wife of Menelaus whose abduction by Paris was the cause of the Trojan War.
Helios Sun god, Odysseus’ crew ate his cattle and were all granted with death.
Hera(Hestia!) Queen of the gods, second in power to her husband and brother, Zeus. Goddess of hearth and home.
Scylla A hideous and dangerous creature, across the channel from Charybdis.
Polyphemus A Cyclops, son of Poseidon and Thoosa. When Odysseus and his comrades are trapped in his cave, he dines on some of the crew members before Odysseus intoxicates him and impales his single eye, and then successfully escapes. He prays to his father Poseidon to avenge this wrong-doing on Odysseus.
Ares God of war, song of Zeus and Hera, and one of Aphrodite’s lovers.
Sirens These creatures (Homer does not describe them physically) were known for their alluring sweet song. When ships approached their island, which lay near Scylla and Charybdis, the sailors heard their song and were so transfixed that they forgot their homeland, landed, and died on the shores, unable and unwilling to tear themselves away from the songs.
Achilles A son of Peleus and the sea-goddess Thetis, father of Neoptolemus. He was one of the greatest heroes of the Trojan War, and the principal hero of the Iliad. He was killed by an arrow shot by Paris and guided by Apollo in one of the final battles of the war. He descended to Hades, where Odysseus encountered him in the field of Asphodels.
“Moly” Magic herb, that can only be picked by gods. Given to Odysseus by Hermes to protect him from Circe’s magical powers.
Demeter The goddess of harvests, particularly that of corn, and the fertility of the earth.
Hermes Son of Zeus and Maia, messenger of the gods and guide for the souls of the dead on their way to Hades.
Charybdis (“wide-swallower”) a monster beneath the trees across the narrow channel from Scylla. Three times a day she gulped trememndous quantities of water and belched them out again, causing a teeming maelstrom, treacherous for sailors.
Dionysus God of wine, fertility and joy. He is hardly central in the Odyssey; Homer mentions him only tangentially.
Poseidon God of the sea, the “earth-shaker”, son of Cronos and Rhea, brother of Zeus and Hades. During the Trojan War he aided the Greeks whenever possible, but turned against Odysseus after the war and made his homeward course difficult and dangerous because he blinded the god’s son Polyphemus.
Penelope Daughter of Icarius and the naiad Periboea, faithful and devoted wife of Odysseus, mother of Telemachus.
Ino Daughter of Cadmus and HArmonia. Zeus saved her when she was near death-because she had, as a girl, protected Dionysus from Hera’s wrath – and then transformed her into a sea-goddess, known thereafter as Leucothea.
Tiresias A blind Theban seer. The most famous prophet of heroic age, he was said to have lived through many generations, and after death he retained, as a gift from Persephone, his divining powers and his intellect, undiminished in Hades.
Eurylochus A relative (by marriage) and comrade of Odysseus on the voyage home from Troy.
Lotus-Eaters Mysterious people who subsist on the sweet fruit of the lotus, at the taste of which Odysseus’ men sink into a dreamy oblivion and are mindless of their voyage home.
Antinous The most arrogant of the suitors and the mastermind behind the plot to kill Telemachus. He was the first suitor to be killed by Odysseus.
Laestrygonians Monstrous cannibal giants who lived in Telepylus. They destroy all of Odysseus’ fleet except his own ship and eat all of his men except his crew.
“No-one” Name Odysseus calls himself to trick the befuddled Polyphemus.
Peisistratus Nestor’s youngest son, who befriends Telemachus when he lands on the shore of Pylos, and accompanies him to Sparta.
Tantalus Committed crimes against the gods, he was compelled to suffer everlasting torment: the fuit and water that hovered near his lips would always somehow slip beyond his reach when he tried to satisfy his eternal thirst and hunger.
Sisyphus “Ledgendary sufferer” in Hades he was forever compelled to push a huge stone up a hill-once it reached the top it would slide back down again.
Titysus Giant son of Gaea. IT was his audacity in attacking Leto that led to his being killed by her children Artemis and Apollo and eternally tormented in Hades, where two vultures tore at his liver, the organ that was believed to be the seat of desire.
Hephaestus Lame god of fire and metal-working, and master of the arts associated with it. He made many magical objects used by the gods and by mortals. In the Odyssey he is the wily husband of Aphrodite.
The Furies Goddesses or spirits who inflicted curses and punished crimes, primarily those within families. They paid particular attention to avenging crimes by children against their mothers.

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