Who is brought out by Athena to Odysseus to rescue him after he has reached the island of the Phaeacians?book 5 from The Odyssey

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Book 5 deals with Odysseus' trials at sea after his raft breaks apart, and Ino, the sea goddess, lends him her scarf (or sash) to stay afloat. Athena helps him in this book by controlling the winds so that he will move in the direction of Scheria, the island of the Phaeacians.

In Book 6, after Odysseus reaches the island, Athena appears in the form of the daughter of the sea captain Dymas to the princess Nausicaa and suggests that she go to the seashore to do laundry. With her father Alcinous' permission, Nausicaa and her maidens do go to wash clothes.

While they are playing games and waiting for the clothes to dry, their cries awaken Odysseus, who has been sleeping under an olive bush (a symbol of Athena's protection). Awkwardly, because he is naked and  disheveled from days at sea, he seeks assistance. Although the other maidens shriek at his appearance and run away, Nausicaa is brave and stands her ground. She rightly points out that strangers are sent from Zeus and that it is her responsibility to help this stranger. Therefore, she directs her maidens to bathe and dress Odysseus. Embarrassed in front of young girls, he insists on bathing himself, but he takes the clothing.

Odysseus also follows Nausicaa's advice about how to approach the king's palace and ask help from Arete, the queen.