The gods are first responsible for establishing the conditions under which the story begins. While the Greek soldiers had returned home from Troy, Odysseus remained trapped as “the brightest goddess, Calypso, held him her hollow grottoes” because “she wanted him as a husband” (Homer, Odyssey 1.5, Translation by Allen Mandelbaum). Calypso traps Odysseus on her island of Ogygia and “keeps the sad Odysseus there—although he weeps. Her words are fond and fragrant, sweet and soft—so she would honey him to cast far off his Ithaca” (1.7). He remains on Ogygia for years, leaving the care of his home to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. Because Calypso keeps him away for years, Odysseus is presumed dead and his absence invites suitors to his home. These suitors look to win the hand of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife. This state of affairs is the overall cause of Telemachus’ d...
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...a, escaping Calypso and the island of Ogygia, and Telemachus from Ithaca to Pylos and Sparta in search of his lost father. While The Odyssey tells of the courage both men demonstrate during their respective travels, their quests are the results of the intentions and desires of gods. Odysseus is trapped in exile on Ogygia by the will of Poseidon, whose anger Odysseus attracts when he blinds the Cyclops Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, and by the love of Calypso, who wishes to make Odysseus her husband. He is released from Ogygia and permitted to return to Ithaca only by the command of Zeus, as delivered by Hermes. Telemachus, rather than being trapped physically, was detained emotionally, feeling helpless to repel the suitors wooing Penelope. Only through the motivation of the goddess Athena did Telemachus find the will and courage to embark in search of Odysseus.
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