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In the prayer to the Muse at the beginning of the poem, the reader learns that Odysseus, an "ingenious hero," will travel "far and wide" after he attacked and sacked Troy. It says that he suffered a great deal in trying to bring himself and his crew home. Most ominously, we learn that the crew, despite his best efforts, was unable to make the trip home, having been destroyed due to their own "sheer folly in eating the cattle of the sun-god Apollo." Finally, we see that Odysseus is the only one of the heroes of the Trojan War that has yet to return home. More broadly, the prayer to the muse (a stock device in epic poetry" shows us that the world of the Odyssey is one where the gods freely intervene in the lives of men, and that their petty disputes and jealousies often cost the lives of mere mortals.
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