In this striking narrative, we follow Odysseus (= Ulysses) as he attempts to return home to Ithaca after the Greek victory after the Trojan War. Odysseus’ initial prospects are unpropitious: we first meet our hero incarcerated on the island of Ogygia, which is ruled by the nymph Calypso – who actively prevents Odysseus from leaving. Although Zeus himself procures Odysseus’ release, Odysseus’ troubles are just beginning: as other powers remain offended that Odysseus still lives – and take action to destroy him.
Harassed unceasingly by the enmity of various immortals, Odysseus wanders for a decade before eventually Zeus permits his return home: only to find his own demesne besieged by a host of enemies attempting to wed his own wife on the supposition that Odysseus – by now – must surely be dead!
- Even when Odysseus leaves Calypso: how can he hope to sail anywhere in safety when he has incurred the wrath of Zeus’ own brother – Poseidon?
- Is even Odysseus’ cunning enough to escape the wily machinations of: the cyclops Polyphemus, the Lotus-eaters, or the powerful sorceress Circe?
Want to know more?
- Read Morris’ rhymed verse translation here.
- Compare with rhymed Pope’s verse translation.
- Compare Hobbe’s rhymed verse translation here.
- Compare Chapman’s rhymed verse translation here.
- Compare Cowper’s blank verse translation here.