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Former king of Mycenae, brother of Menelaus, and commander
of the Achaean forces at Troy. Agamemnon was murdered by his wife,
Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, upon his return from the war. He was
later avenged by his son Orestes.
Among the dozens of suitors, the only decent
man seeking Penelope’s hand in marriage.
Daughter of Zeus and goddess of wisdom, purposeful battle,
and the womanly arts. Athena assists Odysseus and Telemachus with divine powers
throughout the epic, and she speaks up for them in the councils of the gods on
Mount Olympus. She often appears in disguise as Mentor, an old friend of
The beautiful nymph
who falls in love with Odysseus when he lands on her island-home of Ogygia. Calypso
holds him prisoner there for seven years until Hermes, the messenger god,
persuades her to let him go.
The aged and loyal
servant who nursed Odysseus and Telemachus when they were babies. is
well informed about palace intrigues and serves as confidante to her masters.
A manipulative, deceitful suitor. Eurymachus’s charisma and
duplicity allow him to exert some influence over the other suitors.
father, who resides on a farm in Ithaca.
King of Sparta,
brother of Agamemnon, and husband of Helen, he helped lead the Greeks in the
Trojan War. He offers Telemachus assistance in his quest to find Odysseus when
Telemachus visits him in Book 4.
An old friend and advisor to both Odysseus and Telemachus.
Athena often adopts the form of ____ to disguise herself when advising
King of Pylos and a former warrior in the Trojan War. Like
Odysseus, Nestor is known as a clever speaker. Telemachus visits him in Book 3
to ask about his father.
Wife of Odysseus and mother of Telemachus. Penelope spends
her days in the palace pining for the husband who left for Troy twenty years
earlier and never returned.
Odysseus’s son. An infant when Odysseus left for Troy,
Telemachus is about twenty at the beginning of the story. He is a natural
obstacle to the suitors desperately courting his mother, but despite his
courage and good heart, he initially lacks the poise and confidence to oppose
them. His maturation, especially during his trip to Pylos and Sparta in Books 3
and 4, provides a subplot to the epic. Athena often assists him.