A brief overview of "The Odyssey" by Homer.
Book 7: The Palace of Alcinous
New Major Characters
Alcinous: King of the Phaeacians, promises Odysseus a ship and crew to ferry him home no matter how far that may be.
Arete: Queen of the Phaeacians, Odysseus must win her sympathies before gaining help from the Phaeacians.
As Odysseus approaches the city a child, Athene in disguise, halts before him and guides him to Alcinous’ palace. To keep any of the people from noticing him, Athene places a mist about Odysseus so that he may make his way to Queen Arete unharmed and unquestioned. Once Odysseus has come before the queen he clasps her knees and the mist lifts revealing him to everyone in the hall and he earnestly pleads his case to her, asking only for the means to travel home.
The king, as was proper, treated his guest to delicacies and mellow wine with which the hall made their supplications to Zeus. The queen, however, became skeptical of this visitor after recognizing her own handy work upon his back and after seeing that he had finished his meal inquired the visitor as to who he was and how he had come about wearing clothes she herself had made.
Odysseus then proceeded to tell the queen only of his most recent troubles, primarily his journey from Ogygia to Scherie and how he hand inevitably come upon the clothes he was wearing. He continued on to vouch for Nausicaa’s wisdom and skill at handling such a situation for being at such a young age, to which the king responded by telling of the speed and grace of his ships and how on the next day Odysseus will travel home.
Book 8: The Phaeacian Games
New Major Characters
Demodocus: Blind bard who unknowingly tells the people at the feast some of Odysseus’ tales.
As Dawn appeared, Odysseus awoke and made conversation with king Alcinous and Athena went about the town drawing the people together to witness the new visitor. When all were present the king ordered that their fastest black ship be placed into the water and a crew of twenty experienced sailors go prepare it so that when they are finished they may come back to the palace and feast before their voyage. While the sailors made to ready the boat the king proposed some games so that Odysseus may go home and speak honorably about the Phaeacians.
And so the games went on and many fine men showed their skill but one such man, a son of Alcinous, was not pleased. He wished to see the stranger participate in the sports and prove himself a man, and in goading Odysseus in he insulted him deeply and provoked the sharp witted man. Odysseus, full of strength launched the heaviest discus much further than any of the best throws by the Phaeacians and proved himself. As recompense the son gave Odysseus a fine sword and the games were called to an end so that they may revel in the pleasure of the dancers.
Demodocus the blind bard was hailed and by inspiration of the Muse he sang of Odysseus, Achilles and Agamemnon during the war, which made Odysseus weep. Later after packing all of the gifts from the princes of the town, Odysseus joined the feasting and bade Demodocus sing another tale of his, this time of the Trojan horse and again Odysseus wept. Presently Alcinous took note of his guest’s weeping and called the singing to an end so that he may speak openly with the stranger. He bid Odysseus tell the truth, warned him that out of jealousy Poseidon may wreck his ship and went on to inquire the stranger’s identity.
*Notes based off reading The Odyssey by Homer