Odysseus, along with Theseus and Hercules, is one of the most famous heroes of Greek mythology. He is the main character of Homer’s second epic poem, The Odyssey, which follows Odysseus as he attempts to return to his home, Ithaca, after the Trojan War ends. He also plays a lesser role in Homer’s Iliad, which follows the famous war between the Trojans and the Greeks.
Those who have read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan will definitely recognize some of the monsters and enemies Odysseus encounters in his long trip home.
The second book of the Percy Jackson series, The Sea of Monsters, has the most references to Odysseus because Percy’s best friend, Grover, is trapped in “the Sea of Monsters.” This sea is said to be the same sea Odysseus, Jason, Aeneas, and all the other Greek heroes sailed through, but currently resides in the Bermuda Triangle off the coast of Florida.
Lotus Eaters - credits: classical-inquires.chs.harvard.edu
When Odysseus and his men encounter the Island of the Locus Eaters, he sends two men to scout the area. When they don’t return, he goes after them and finds them hopelessly addicted to the lotus plant, a plant that makes the eater lose all grip on reality. Odysseus has to drag the scouts back to the ships so they can move on.
In The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson book 1, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover visit the “Lotus Hotel and Casino” in Las Vegas. The hotel has a similar effect as the plants in the Odyssey, forcing teenagers to forget who they are. Percy realizes something is wrong when he sees people from all different time periods, and is able to convince Annabeth and Grover to escape.
Polyphemus - credits: mythologysource.com
Odysseus and his men then stop at an island populated with many Cyclopes. They discover wine and cheese in an empty cave, and feast until the owner returns, a huge Cyclops named Polyphemus. Polyphemus eats two of Odysseus’s men until Odysseus gets Polyphemus drunk then stabs him in the eye, calling himself “Nobody.” Therefore, when Polyphemus yells out “Nobody blinded me!” no one comes to his aid. Odysseus and his men then hid under sheep to escape. While escaping in his ship, Odysseus gloats and tells Polyphemus his real name, giving Polyphemus the ability to curse him.