"The Odyssey" is the epic tale of Odysseus and his journey home after fighting in the Trojan war. It picks up where "The Illiad" left off, after the fall of Troy, and focuses on Odysseus' struggle to return to his kingdom, explains SparkNotes.com.
When "The Odyssey" begins, it has been 20 years since Odysseus left Ithaca, but his faithful wife Penelope remains hopeful even as the palace becomes overrun with potential suitors. Penelope and Odysseus' son, Telemachus, has come of age during his father's absence, and though Telemachus wants to banish the suitors from the palace, he cannot do so on his own. Meanwhile, Odysseus has been trapped by the nymph Calypso on her island. The gods debate Odysseus' future, and Zeus decides to send Hermes to rescue Odysseus. Odysseus builds a ship and sets sail for home, but Poseidon sends a storm to wreck the ship because Odysseus blinded Poseidon's son, the Cyclops. This time Athena intervenes, and Odysseus lands safely on Scheria, home of the Phaeacians. There, Odysseus meets the king and queen who, upon hearing of his exploits during the war, promise to help him return to Ithaca. Odysseus then tells them stories of his adventures since the fall of Troy, including how he blinded the Cyclops. True to their word, the king and queen help Odysseus reach Ithaca, where Athena disguises him as a beggar. Along the way, Odysseus meets Telemachus and together they devise a plan to get rid of the suitors. Odysseus, still disguised as a beggar, returns to the palace where Penelope announces that she will marry whoever can string Odysseus' bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axes. Odysseus easily wins the contest and then, together with Telemachus, kills all the suitors. Odysseus then reveals himself and reunites with Penelope.