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What is the plot summary of "The Odyssey?"

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Quick Answer

"The Odyssey" is an epic poem by Homer that tells how the legendary king Odysseus journeys from Oygigia back to his own kingdom of Ithaca after the Trojan War. Once he arrives in Ithaca, Odysseus defeats the suitors attempting to lay claim to his wife and kingdom.

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Full Answer

Odysseus' journey begins when he and his warriors blind a Cyclops who is a child of Poseidon. Poseidon curses the hero to wander the seas for a decade and only return home with the help of others. Odysseus comes across various mythological figures, including Aeolus and Circe, who manipulate or enslave him and his men.

Odysseus' son, Telemachus, is urged to seek out his father despite Odysseus' 10-year absence. When the two meet, Odysseus goes undercover in his own home to see the damage the suitors have done, and they devise a plan to kill the suitors that they carry out with the help of the goddess Athena. After the suitors have been killed, Odysseus reveals himself to Penelope by telling her of their marital bed.

Believed to have been written in 800 B.C., the play is one of the oldest works of Western literature. The use of the term "odyssey" to refer to a long and arduous journey comes from this work.

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