The Odyssey begins in Ithaca, King Odysseus’ home. Where he lives with his wife Penelope and newborn son Telemachus.
Odysseus’ call to adventure begins with the Trojan war. When the Trojans attack the Greeks, Odysseus must travel to Troy to lead the armies in battle. Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.
The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead. Odysseus reacts pessimistically and has to make sure it is not a trick, but he answers the call! He is also hesitant since his first son Telemachus was just born.
At the threshold, heroes will encounter helpers and supernatural aids. Often they bring a talisman to help us through the ordeal. The most important of these helpers is the mentor. Athena: goddess of wisdom, crafts, and war is Odysseus’ guide and wants to help him although she has been instructed not to; she takes pity on him while other gods forsake him. She constantly saves Odysseus from death, and gives him guidance in the form of information.
The hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values. After the war the gods became angry with the Greeks for their prideful ways; a great storm emerges and throws them off course.
Once past the Threshold, he begins his journey into the unknown. The journey can be outward into a physical unknown. The journey can be inward to a psychological unknown.
During their journey’s hero’s encounter many tests and challenges that attempt to throw them off course. Odysseus has many tests in his travels back to Ithaca, which include Polyphemus (The Cyclops) Circones Lotus eaters Lastrygonians Sirens Scylla & Charybdis Cattle of the Sun God Calypso
The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world. The Phaeacians are so moved by Odysseus's story that they offer his safe passage home. When Odysseus wakes up in Ithaca, Athena reveals herself to him and explains that suitors are attempting to steal his wife and his throne. Together they make plans to defeat the suitors.
Hero’s fortunes hits rock bottom and he confronts his greatest fear. Odysseus disguised as an old beggar hides out near his home. His son arrives and he reveals his true identity. Odysseus takes part in Penelope’s challenge and wins by stringing his own bow and shooting an arrow through the 12 axe heads. With his son he kills all the suitors.
The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again His reward is winning back his place of power and being able to be with his wife again, and his son and his surviving father.
The hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home. Odysseus travels to visit his father Laertes and reveals himself to him. The suitors fathers show up to get revenge on Odysseus.
At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level. By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved. He must deal with consequences of confronting the dark force. As such, Odysseus fights the group of angry fathers until Athena makes them stop.
After Transformation and Atonement, the hero faces the final stage of his journey: The Return to everyday life. The “elixir” can be treasure, love, freedom, wisdom, etc. For Odysseus the return means a return to his throne and kingship and being reunited with his wife and son. Peace is brought to Ithaca.