Ulysses, the Hero of Ithaca: His Adventures and Return after the Trojan War

In the lively web of Greek mythology, Ulysses plays an unforgettable role. Crowned with cunning and wit, this legendary hero of antiquity has inspired storytellers, playwrights and poets down the ages. The central character of two Homeric epics, his saga unfolds a panorama of adventures that continue to fascinate and enlighten the collective imagination.


Ulysses before the Trojan War

Origins and youth

Born on the craggy island of Ithaca, son of Anticlée and Laërte, Ulysses emerges as a complex figure, woven of bravery and ingenuity from his earliest years.

Ulysses and Penelope

His union with the faithful Penelope consecrates a love woven of hope and expectation, reflecting the matrimonial ideal of the time. Together, they give birth to Telemachus, future heir to a kingdom entangled in the melancholy of absence.

Ulysses king of Ithaca

At the head of his island, Ulysses reigns with the foresight of a leader and the tenderness of a father, until the winds of the Trojan War blow duty and tear him from his native soil.

The Trojan War and the role of Ulysses

The Trojan Horse stratagem

Inventor of the famous horse, the final artifice that leads to the fall of Troy, Ulysses stands out for his strategy and ingenuity, forged in the flame of war.

Other feats of arms and strategic contributions

Unwilling to rest on his laurels, Ulysses multiplies his exploits, revealing his talent as a leader and strategic advisor, decisive for the success of the Achaeans.

Odysseus' return journey to Ithaca

Divine and natural obstacles

Poseidon's wrath

The tumultuous sea god plots the hero's downfall, in response to the blindness of his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus. From then on, Ulysses sails on dark waters.

Storms and sea monsters

No sail stands without a test, and Ulysses faces his share of fearsome creatures and foaming waves, challenging his seafaring genius.

Mythical encounters

The Cyclops Polyphemus

The way out of this one-eyed foe lies in cunning, not sheer force , further proof of Ulysses' intellectual acuity.

Circe the sorceress

Circe's charms and necromancies test the will of the hero, , who must deal with the supernatural and bewitchment to free his companions.

Calypso and the island of Ogygie

The voluntary imprisonment in the arms of the nymph Calypso depicts the conflict between desire and duty, a universal theme enshrined in myth.

The Sirens and their deadly songs

The deadly lure of the Sirens' melody confronts Ulysses with the vertigo of sacrifice and the temptation of abandonment, a dark call song which he resists by cunning.

The passage through the underworld and the quest for answers

Plunged into the twilight depths, Ulysses searches for prophecies, lighting his path with essential returns and revelations.

Help from the gods and goddesses

Athena, Odysseus' protector

Unwavering support, the goddess of wisdom watches over the hero, weaving his return and final victory into the spider's web of divine purpose.

Intervention of other deities

Although some gods are hostile, others prove to be benevolent, orchestrating the winds and waves to favor Ulysses' journey .

The return to Ithaca and the end of the odyssey

The situation in Ithaca during Odysseus' absence

With a court infested with quarrelsome suitors, royalty in peril and a son in search of his father, Ithaca languishes in anticipation of the king.

Like a secret spider's web, Ulysses weaves his return in disguise, scrutinizing the souls of his subjects before revealing his identity.

The massacre of the pretenders and the restitution of the throne

The throne room becomes the arena of final judgment, where the ousted hero reclaims his due in a bloodbath of glory.

The reunion with Penelope and the reconstruction of family life

A love tested by twenty years must be reaffirmed, in the rebuilt marital bed revealing the sincerity of feelings and the restoration of family harmony.

The cultural legacy of Ulysses

Ulysses in literature and the arts

From Virgil to James Joyce, Ulysses sails through the centuries, a hero shaped by words and canvases, immortalized within universal culture.

Modern adaptations of the myth

Cinema, theater, contemporary literature... Ulysses is reinvented, a living symptom of an inextinguishable myth that continues to inspire and captivate.

Ulysses as the archetypal hero-traveler

His peregrinations meet the timeless echo of the voyage of initiation, a personal and symbolic quest that modern tales still mock.


Fighter, strategist, husband and father, Ulysses embodies the prism of the warrior myth and adventurer, a shining symbol of human cunning and perseverance in the fresco of Greek mythology.


A rich corpus links us to Ulysses, from the immortal verses of Homer's "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey", to scholarly studies that continue to explore the complexity of his mythological heritage.