The Odyssey Character List

Agamemnon Description: King of Mycenae and commander of the Achaean armies while fighting in Troy.Impact: He was murdered by his own wife and Aegisthus, who was the brother of Menelaus. (1.35)
Alcinous Description: King of Phaeacians, husband of Arete and father of Nausicaa.Impact: Odysseus visits him, and this person encourages Odysseus to tell the story of his journey. (6.14)
Aeolus Description: Master of the winds.Impact: Gave Odysseus a bag containing the various winds, intending to help him on his journey. Odysseus later returned to this person’s house, but was sent away. (10.1)
Amphinomus Description: One of Penelope’s many suitors.Impact: Penelope favors this suitor. Later on, Telemachus kills him. (16.388)
Argos Description: A dog belonging to Odysseus.Impact: The dog waited for his master to come home, and then died upon Odysseus’ arrival. (17.319)
Irus (Arnaeus) Description: An Ithacan beggar.Impact: Insulted Odysseus and challenged him to a fight. Odysseus won. (18.6)
Athena Description: Goddess of wisdom and the daughter of Zeus.Impact: Takes the side of Odysseus and helps him on his journey. Disguises themselves as several different mortals. (1.53)
Calypso Description: A lustrous goddess and a bewitching nymph.Impact: Keeps Odysseus from returning to his wife because she is lonely. Odysseus stays on her island for more than five years. (1.16)
Circe Description: A witch who lives on her own island.Impact: While being visited by Odysseus, this witch turned his men into swine. After being outsmarted by Odysseus, she gave him his crew back and allowed them to stay in her house for a year. (11.154)
Elpenor Description: One of Odysseus’ crewmen.Impact: Dies by falling of Circe’s roof. When visiting the Land of the Dead, this man visits Odysseus and requests a proper burial where he died. (10.608)
Eumaeus Description: The swineherd of Odysseus.Impact: Takes care of Odysseus when he returns home and proves that he is loyal to his master. (14.63)
Eurycleia Description: The loyal nurse of Odysseus and his family. Impact: Takes care of Penelope and helps Odysseus to carry out his plans to kill the suitors and reclaim his household. (1.489)
Eurylochus Description: One of Odysseus’ crewmen.Impact: Warns the crew against entering Circe’s halls and later suggests staying at the island of Helios. He is also the kin of Odysseus and his second in command. (10.224)
Charbydis Description: A monster in the form of a giant whirlpool.Impact: Worked together with Scylla, but did not actually kill any of Odysseus’ men. They simply had to sail past it to reach their destination. (12.115)
Eurymachus Description: One of the two leading suitors who court Penelope. Impact: Plots to kill Telemachus upon his return to Ithaca. Eventually killed by Odysseus. (1.457)
Helios (Hyperion) Description: The god of the sun.Impact: Becomes furious with Odysseus and his crew after they eat his cattle. This god forced Zeus to unleash his rage upon Odysseus, which resulted in the loss of his entire crew. (8.307)
Helen Description: The Queen of Sparta.Impact: While Odysseus was visiting Sparta, she gave him a potion to rid him of his grief. This allowed him to tell her the stories of his journey. (4.14)
Hermes Description: The god of thieves and the messenger of the gods.Impact: Helps Odysseus return to his home by giving him a potion, which helps him to overcome the spells of Circe. (1.46)
Laertes Description: The father of Odysseus.Impact: Lives in grief over his belief that his son is dead. Odysseus goes to visit him soon after his return to Ithaca. (1.219)
Ino Description: Goddess of the sea.Impact: This woman gives Odysseus a magical scarf that temporarily saves him from the wrath of Poseidon after he is shipwrecked. (5.367)
Melanthius Description: The evil goatherd of Odysseus.Impact: Takes the side of the suitors when Odysseus is reclaiming his estate. The goatherd arms the suitors during their slaughter and is later tortured by Odysseus until his death. (17.231)
Melantho Description: A maid of Odysseus.Impact: Becomes loyal to the suitors instead of her master and is killed by Odysseus. (18.363)
Mentes Description: Disguise of Athena.Impact: Athena disguises herself as this person when she first arrives to inspire Telemachus. Her words convince him that he needs to learn about his father’s fate. (1.123)
Menelaus Description: King of Sparta.Impact: Confirms Telemachus’ belief that his father is still alive. (1.328)
Mentor Description: Disguise of Athena.Impact: Athena disguises herself as Odysseus’ friend to inspire him. (2.250)
Nausicaa Description: The daughter of King Alcinous.Impact: When Odysseus washes up on the shore of Phaeacia, this princess finds him and invites Odysseus to come into her family’s palace as a guest. (6.20)
Nestor Description: King of Pylos.Impact: Telemachus visits him, but this man is unable to provide Telemachus with any information about his father’s destiny after Troy. (3.19)
Odysseus Description: King of Ithaca, an epic hero from the Trojan War.Impact: Spends the entire poem trying to return home to his wife, family, and palace. His deepest desire is to reclaim the estate that Penelope’s suitors have taken over in his absence. (1.24)
Orestes Description: Son of Agamemmnon.Impact: This man is a role model for Telemachus while the young prince is still learning how to be an adult. He is famous for avenging the death of his father. (1.35)
Pisistratus Description: The son of Nestor.Impact: Follow Telemachus across the land because they are close friends. (3.40)
Penelope Description: Wife of Odysseus and Queen of Ithaca.Impact: Allows suitors into her palace while grieving for her husband. She lives with the fear that her husband will never return home.
Philoetius Description: Cowherd of Odysseus.Impact: Shows his loyalty to Odysseus, who suggests to the cowherd that Odysseus will soon come to reclaim his estate. (20.203)
Polyphemus Description: The Cyclops, son of Poseidon.Impact: Traps Odysseus and his crew in the cave. They blind the Cyclops and then escape, but Odysseus reveals his name to the monster, who in turn sets Poseidon’s rage onto Odysseus. (1.83)
Poseidon Description: The god of earthquakes and the brother of Zeus.Impact: This god is angry at Odysseus for wounding his son, and tries to keep Odysseus from returning to Ithaca. (1.23)
Scylla Description: A six-headed monster that lives close to Charybdis. Impact: Eats six of Odysseus’ crewmen. (12.94)
Tiresias Description: Blind seer of Thebes who is a prophet.Impact: Visits Odysseus while in the Land of the Dead and tells Odysseus what will happen on the rest of his journey. He also gives instructions on what to do after his return to Ithaca. (10.541)
Telemachus Description: Son of Odysseus and Prince of Ithaca. Impact: Travels to various countries to hear what happened to his father after the Trojan War. (1.132)
Theclymenus Description: A seer of prophetic lineage.Impact: Joins Telemachus on his journey back to Ithaca. He is running away from his native land because he killed a man. (15.286)
Zeus Description: King of the gods.Impact: Supports Athena in her concern for Odysseus, but does not show complete sympathy for the epic hero. (1.11)
Antinous Description: The suitor who threw a chair at Odysseus.Impact: One of the two leading suitors who courted Penelope, later blames Eurymachus for taking over the estate of Odysseus. (1.443)

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