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The Odyssey

Homer
Summary

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

11) Why does Odysseus travel to Hades?

When Odysseus approaches Circe to ask for help returning home, she tells him that he must first travel to Hades to speak with the ghost of the blind prophet Tiresias. She explains that Tiresias “will tell you the way to go, the stages of your voyage, / how you can cross the swarming sea and reach home at last.” Eager to return to his home and family in Ithaca, Odysseus follows Circe’s detailed instructions to reach Hades, where the souls of the dead dwell. Tiresias provides Odysseus with important information, confirms that Odysseus will reach home to his loyal wife, and foretells of Odysseus’s slaughter of the suitors.