Please give the simplest summary of the Odyssey by Homer.

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The basic plot can be summarized in four points. 

  • Odysseus, the main character, after the Trojan war seeks to go home. He is the king of Ithaca and his lovely wife, Penelope awaits him. However, he is imprisoned by Calypso, who is in love with him, but the gods release him and so Calypso allows him to leave unwillingly. 
  • Along the way, he faces many trials, partially because Odysseus blinded the son of Poseidon. So, part of the book is about his adventures. 
  • Back at home in Ithaca, his kingdom is overrun by suitors, who think that Odysseus is dead, because it has been 10 year since the close of the Trojan War. Penelope is delaying and still has hope that her husband is still alive. 
  • When Odysseus returns home disguised as a beggar, he scouts things out and finally plots to kill the suitors, which he does with the help of his son. In this way, he regains his kingdom. 

The opening lines are a good summary of the work

"Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy. Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds, many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea, fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home."

It is worth reading several times.