From the story   -   The Odyssey
Of the tradition   -   Greek Oral Poetry
Role in story   -   Hero
Family members   -   Penelope (wife), Telemachus (son), Laertes (father)

Odysseus is the protagonist of the Odyssey. He fought among the other Greek heroes at Troy and struggled to return to his kingdom in Ithaca. Odysseus is the husband of Queen Penelope and the father of Prince Telemachus. He is known for being a strong and courageous warrior, and for being extremely cunning. He is watched over by the goddess Athena, who often sends him godly aid. Odysseus is hated by Poseidon, who bothered his journey at every turn.

Character TraitsEdit

  • Strength
  • Courage
  • Nobility
  • Thirst for glory
  • Confidence in his authority
  • Sharp intellect
  • Quick thinking (escape from Cyclops, hiding the suitors' slaughter by having his minstrel play a wedding song.
  • Convincing, articulate speaker
    • Wins over/manipulates his audience with ease (As he does with Nausicaa)


  • Return home to Ithaca, even though his wife cannot be compared to Calypso. He thinks of home throughout the time he spends with the Phaeacians and also while on Circe's island.
  • Win kleos (“glory” won through great deeds)
  • Complete his nostos (“homecoming”)


  • Sometimes his glory-seeking gets in the way of his home-seeking
  • He sacks the land of the Cicones but loses men and time in the process.
  • He waits too long in the cave of Polyphemus, enjoying the free milk and cheese he finds, and is trapped there when the Cyclops returns.

Is Odysseus static?Edit

  • No. Early in his adventures, Odysseus's love of glory prompts him to reveal his identity to the Cyclops and bring Poseidon's wrath down on him. By the end, he seems much more willing to temper pride with patience. Disguised as a beggar, he does not immediately react to the abuse he receives from the suitors. Instead, he endures it until the traps he has set and the loyalties he has secured put him in a position from which he can strike back effectively.

Origins of nameEdit

  • Odysseus = somebody is angry at (Poseidon is mad at him)

  The Odyssey by Homer edit

Ithaca Residents: Odysseus - Telemachus - Penelope - Eumaeus - Eurycleia - Melanthius - Melantho - Laertes
Gods and Goddesses: Athena - Poseidon - Zeus - Hermes
Suitors: Antinous - Eurymachus - Amphinomus
Voyage Acquaintances: Calypso - Polyphemus - Circe - Tiresias - Nestor - Menelaus - Helen - Agamemnon
Phaeacians: Nausicaa - Alcinous - Arete

Italacized members are Odysseus's enemies - Strike-through members are deceased by the end of The Odyssey