Who are Lemuel Gulliver of Gulliver's Travels and Odysseus of The Odyssey, and what do they have in common?
Both Gulliver and Odysseus share the common trait of having been shipwrecked and forced into long absences from their homes and families before finally returning to their native lands. Lemuel Gulliver is an English doctor in search of adventure when he is first shipwrecked on Lilliput. Like Odysseus, he becomes involved in a war which he did not want to participate. Gulliver is able to return to England safely, before the urge to travel to other distant lands leads him to other voyages and adventures.
Odysseus is the wily king of Ithaca (a Greek city-state) who goes off to fight the Trojans in the Greeks' fight with Troy. When he attempts to return to Ithaca after the long war, he is beset with a number of setbacks which strand him on distant shores. He finally returns to his home, which has changed drastically while he was away.
Both Gulliver and Odysseus meet up with all sorts of unusual creatures and peoples, and both use their craftiness to stay alive and eventually depart the dangerous lands on which they have been stranded. In the end, Odysseus returns to his home in Ithaca, rids his household of the undesirable elements who have taken over his home, and settles back into life with his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus--happy to be back in the land he loves. For Gulliver, things are different when he finally returns to England for good. His experiences have made him bitter about humanity, and his return is a difficult one to endure.