In The Odyssey, Odysseus is desperate to return home and admits his need on various occasions as he tries to negotiate his return. There is nothing more important to him, no matter what comfort he enjoys elsewhere. He has had to force his men, on various occasions, to continue on. However, he lingers almost too long on the island of the Cyclops where he tries to outwit Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon. Later, Odysseus will suffer Poseidon's wrath after having blinded Polyphemus in his attempt to escape.
Having been advised by the goddess Circe, with whom Odysseus has spent the past year, that in this quest to return home he must detour to the underworld where he will receive advice from the spirit of Teiresias, Odysseus carries out her instructions despite his men's objections. He meets with other spirits first and, as Circe said he would, receives specific advice and warnings from Teiresias. Teiresias tells him how difficult the journey will be and the perils that awaits his men who will not make it home.
He predicts that Odysseus will, despite all these setbacks, arrive home, although he will be "in bad plight." Once there, he will be required to reclaim his wife and kill her suitors "by force or by fraud." He must also appease Poseidon and the heavens so that he can "ebb away very gently." Much to Odysseus's sorrow, the spirit of his mother is also present and talks with Odysseus, having died during his long absence from Ithaca, his home.