Odysseus travels to the Land of the Dead to speak with the prophet Tiresias. When he gets there, he makes a blood sacrifice so that the spirits of the dead will emerge from the depths of Hades. One of the first spirits he speaks to is Elpenor, who begs him not to leave him unburied and unmourned.
Eventually, Tiresias comes forth to speak with Odysseus. The prophet tells Odysseus that his journey back to Ithaca will be hard. However, he offers Odysseus advice on how to overcome the odds.
After speaking to Tiresias, Odysseus speaks to Anticleaia, his mother. He asks her about his son, Telemachus, and his wife, Penelope. Anticleaia reveals that Penelope has remained faithful to Odysseus. Meanwhile, Telemachus has grown into a young lord who is popular with his peers. Before Odysseus takes his leave, he tries to embrace Anticleaia. However, because she is in spirit form, Odysseus cannot enclose her in a hug.
Next, Odysseus meets many wives and daughters of great men. They include the following:
Tyro: the former wife of Cretheus, who became infatuated with Enipeus (a river god). She is impregnated by Poseidon, the god of the sea, and bears two of his children, Pelias and Neleus.
Antiope: the daughter of Aesopus. She claims to have been impregnated by Zeus himself. As a result, she bears him two children, Amphion and Zethus.
Alcmene: the wife of Amphitryon, who was also impregnated by Zeus. Out of the union, she gave birth to Heracles.
Epicaste: the mother of Oedipodes, whom she married.
Chloris: the wife of Neleus and the last daughter of Amphion, the son of Iasus, a formerly great king in Minyan Orchomenus. Chloris bore Neleus three sons: Nestor, Chromius, and Periclymenus.
Odysseus also encounters Leda, the consort of Tyndareus, and Iphemedia, who was impregnated by Poseidon himself. One of his most poignant encounters is that with Agamemnon, who relates how he was murdered by his wicked wife, Clytemnaestra.
Other spirits Odysseus encounters are Heracles, Aias, Patroclus, Antilochus, Achilles, Tantalus, Orion, Tityus (the son of Gaia), and Minos (the son of Zeus).