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Odysseus endures a true odyssey during the 20 years he has been absent from Ithaca. After 10 years of warring with Troy, it is Odysseus's suggestion that the Greeks build a giant wooden horse as a monument to Troy's long defense: Hidden inside the horse, Odysseus and a few select men exit during the night, opening the gates for the Greeks to slaughter their foes. But another 10 years of travels awaits Odysseus. He has angered several of the gods, and he must face a variety of obstacles and monsters before he successfully returns home. After his arrival in the land of the Lotus-Eaters, he moves on to the island of the Cyclops, where he outwits and blinds the one-eyed Polyphemus. When aided by Aoleus's bag of wind, Odysseus is within sight of Ithaca when his men open the bag, blowing them far from home. Odysseus next sails to the land of the Laestrygonians, where all of his ships are destroyed but one. Next, they reach the island of the enchantress Circe, who turns most of Odysseus's men into animals. Circe's spell keeps the men with her for a full year before they escape. Odysseus then sails to the underworld, and afterward, he avoids the Sirens and survives the monstrous Scylla and the whirling waters of Charybdis. Odysseus offends Zeus on the island of Thrinacia, and all but Odysseus are killed. Odysseus finally washes ashore on the island of King Alcinous of the Phaeacians, who helps the great Greek hero return home to Ithaca. There, Odysseus finds his home in great turmoil and, disguising himself (with the help of Athena) as an old man, slays the prospective suitors of Penelope who have disgraced his island.
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