Some of the central characters in "The Odyssey" include Odysseus, Agamemnon, Telemachus, Penelope and Laertes. Greek gods and goddesses including Athena, Zeus and Poseidon also play a role in the story.
Odysseus is the protagonist of "The Odyssey." Odysseus takes 10 years to reach home in Ithaca while returning home from the Trojan War. Along the way he and his men must resist Sirens and vanquish the Cyclops Polyphemus.
During Odysseus's absence, his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage. Penelope waits 20 years for Odysseus' return. She is portrayed as sometimes flighty and excitable but also clever and steadfastly true to her husband. During Telemachus' travels in Pylos and Sparta, Athena often assists him.
After Odysseus kills Poseidon's son, Polyphemus, Poseidon curses Odysseus to wander the sea for 10 years. Throughout Odysseus's journey, Poseidon uses his powers to prevent the man's return home.
Agamemnon is the former king of Mycenae. Agamemnon was murdered by his wife and Odysseus encounters Agamemnon’s spirit in Hades. Agamemnon's story is a device used to reflect an inverted image of the fortunes of Odysseus and Telemachus.
Laertes is Odysseus’s father, who resides on a farm in Ithaca. He regains his spirit when Odysseus returns.