The Odyssey

What has Odysseus done day and night on Calypso's island?

book five

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Athena pleads to the gods and Zeus at Mount Olympus on behalf of the imprisoned Odysseus and Telemachus, who is in danger of being ambushed. Zeus tells her to protect Telemachus, and sends Hermes to order Calypso to release her prisoner - although Odysseus must first sail alone on a raft to Skheria, where he will receive lavish gifts from the Phaeacians before returning home in a proper ship.

Hermes races to Calypso's beautiful island. He gives the goddess Zeus' command. She reluctantly agrees, but not before pointing out that male gods are allowed to take mortal lovers while female ones are not, and informs the weeping Odysseus of the new plans. He is suspicious of her sudden help and does not think a raft will be sufficient for the ocean, but she assures him there is no subterfuge. They have dinner, and Calypso tries to convince him that she is better than his mortal wife. Odysseus flatters her but insists he longs for home. They sleep together, as they do every night.

With Calypso's help, Odysseus makes his raft over the next four days and, after receiving some gifts and a magical breeze, he leaves on the fifth day. He sails for 17 more days until he nears Skheria, but Poseidon sees him and realizes the gods have freed him. He conjures a mighty storm, and Odysseus believes he will drown as he is tossed around and thrown underwater. The goddess Ino rescues him with her veil. Odysseus thinks it may be another trick, but after his raft breaks apart, he takes her veil and swims.