Odysseus, also known as Ulysses, was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and a hero of Homer's Iliad and other works in that same Epic Cycle. Husband of Penelope, father of Telemachus, and son of Laertes and Anticlea, Odysseus is renowned for his brilliance, guile and versatility, and is hence known by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning.
Odysseus is truly a versatile hero. His travels across the wine-dark Aegean are journeys not just into the mind of one of the most brilliantly creative of all the ancient Greek writers. They are as much a voyage beyond the limits of a narrative which can plausibly lay claim to being the quintessential global phenomenon.
Whether they focus on the bewitching song of the Sirens, his cunning escape from the cave of the terrifying one-eyed Cyclops, or the vengeful slaying of the suitors of his beautiful wife Penelope, the stirring adventures of Ulysses/Odysseus are amongst the most durable in human culture.
He urges them forward as they row, telling them to stay clear of Charybdis--but wisely making no mention of the monster, "since I didn't want my men too frightened to row." Despite Circe's advice, [Odysseus] arms himself and take the position in the bow, scanning for Scylla.
For a guy who's spent the last year idling with an enchantress, this has to be a shaky moment: "While I've been living the good life, my mother died." Ninety-plus percent of his crew has been killed on his way home, but Odysseus still has no trouble enjoying Circe's hospitality.
In [Odysseus's] absence, it is assumed he has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage.
[Homer] shows two men, Nestor and Odysseus, at the pinnacle of virtue, surpassing all other men but equal to each other in reasonableness and bravery and virtue and power of speech, yet he does not portray them as equal in their fortunes. Rather the gods made Nestor 'happy in marrying and begetting / and granted him a rich old age in his halls / and sons who were wise and masters of the spear' but Odysseus, though his is 'gentle,' 'shrewd,' and 'reasonable,' is often called 'unfortunate.'
[W]e cannot overlook that in all his significant appearances in extant tragedy except in Ajax (and, if we include satyr drama, in Euripides' Cyclops) Odysseus is a rogue.
The goddess Athena had helped Odysseus and the Greeks win the Trojan War. Instead of worshiping at [her] altar, some of the Greek warriors [disrespected her]. The gods were angry [and Zeus] threw thunderbolts at the ships [and] Poseidon delayed Odysseus's journey home for another ten years with a host of deadly obstacles.
The poem, [The Odyssey], mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths) and his journey home after the fall of Troy.
Odysseus was a legendary hero who helped the Greeks win the Trojan War around 1200 B.C.E. After then years of fighting Odysseus was relieved to finally set sail from the ancient city of Troy to his island home of Ithaca, off the west coast of Greece.