Where is Odysseus when he begins to tell his tale?
Odysseus tells his tale at an enormous feast held in his honor by Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians. Normally, the Phaeacians are not renowned for their love of foreigners, but the goddess Athena, Odysseus's divine protector, intervenes to ensure that he receives a warm welcome. Once Odysseus arrives at Alcinous's palace, he proceeds to tell the king and queen about his predicament. Alcinous kindly responds by offering to provide Odysseus a ship for the next stage of the voyage.
As an honored guest, Odysseus, who still hasn't revealed his true identity, is treated to an entertaining display of games such as boxing, wrestling, and discus throwing. Odysseus is happy to watch rather than participate, as he doesn't want to give himself away. But after being insulted by a young athlete, Odysseus can't resist putting him in his place and promptly shows up the impudent young pup by beating him in a discuss throwing contest.
Later that evening, the Phaeacians throw a big feast in their guest's honor, and it is here that Odysseus finally tells his tale. He's inspired to do so by the beautiful song sung by the minstrel Demodocus about the Trojan War, in which Odysseus played such an important part. Overcome by emotion Odysseus breaks down, causing Alcinous to ask him who he is, where he comes from, and where he's going. It is then that Odysseus embarks upon the telling of his epic tale.