How does Odysseus get home in The Odyssey?

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liteachr eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After helping the Greeks to win the Trojan war, Odysseus sets out on what will become a ten year long journey to return to his home and kingdom of Ithaca. Although Odysseus experiences many difficult and dangerous adventures along the way, he is also helped by the goddess Athena, who has always favored him among all the other Greek heroes. Partly this is because Odysseus is smart and uses his ingenuity to come up with plans that solve problems, while other men would simply flail about in self-doubt and frustration. It was Odysseus, after all, who devised the idea to build a wooden horse and hide Greek soldiers inside, so that the long fought war with the Trojans would end in a victory for the Greeks. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, admired such qualities in men and, as a result, in several instances she helped Odysseus when he most needed it.

Not all of the gods favored him, however. In fact, when Odysseus and his men fled from the cave of Polyphemus, the Cyclops, after blinding and tricking him, Odysseus was met by the wrath of Poseidon. Upon hearing Odysseus claim to be greater and smarter than the giant, who happened to be the son of Poseidon, the god of the oceans was angered and caused a great storm to befall Odysseus's ship. Poseidon's power over the seas and the creatures that dwelled there was omnipotent and he vowed to keep Odysseus from attaining his goal. Odysseus eventually lost all of his men and almost didn't make it back home to his beloved wife and son. After many arduous adventures and with the help of Athena, Odysseus does finally return home and is able to lay claim to his family and kingdom once again.