Percy Jackson: the Modern Odyssey
Have you ever heard of the book called Frankenstein? Do you know its other name The Modern Prometheus? The reason why it was given that name was that Victor Frankenstein and Prometheus both wanted to help mankind but were punished for doing so. I believe another book series should be regarded in the same way. The Percy Jackson series and the Odyssey share so many similarities it is almost impossible not to think of it as the modern version of the Odyssey. To support my claim, I will provide a summary of the odyssey and a summary of the first two books of the Percy Jackson series. Then I will compare the two similarities. Before we start comparing the similarities between The Odyssey and The Percy Jackson Series, we should first know a little about each book. The Odyssey begins ten years after the battle and subsequent fall of Troy. The triumphant Greek hero Odysseus has not returned home to Ithaca. Believing Odysseus to be dead, a group of suitors attempts to court Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, while ransacking the palace’s food supply. After seeing this, the goddess Athena seeks permission from Zeus to aid Odysseus and his family. With the permission of Zeus, Athena camouflages herself as Mentes, an old family friend of Odysseus. Mentes urges Odysseus’ son Telemachus to find news of his father, from his father’s friends at both Pylos and Sparta.
When the suitors found out that Telemachus would be departing from Ithaca, Antinous the leader of the suitors and the rest of the suitors plan to kill him when he returns home. While Telemachus is searching for any news of his father, he is regaled with stories from his father’s old comrades. While this is going on, Athena calls for the release of Odysseus from the goddess Calypso where he was held for eight of the last ten years. Once released from the hold of Calypso, Odysseus sets sail on a rickety makeshift raft for Ithaca. This angers Poseidon the god of the sea because of Odysseus’ previous slight against Poseidon which includes the blinding of his Cyclops son Polyphemus. Poseidon decides to create a storm to try to kill him. Thanks to Athena’s blessing Odysseus reaches the Phaeacians. The Princess of the Phaeacians helps Odysseus reach the palace. Once there he asks the King and Queen of the Phaeacians for aid.
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They agree to help him and celebrated their guest. Later Odysseus reviles his identity to the King of the Phaeacians and tells him the stories of his trials to reach home. He tells the King about the people he lost due to the Kikones and how he almost never left the island of the Lotus Eaters and how he escaped the Cyclops Polyphemus and how his war with Poseidon started. He also told him about the time he met and got aid from Aeolus, and how he ended up on the island with the man-eating giants called Laistrygonians. Odysseus also regaled the King of the tales of his encounter with Circe, the witch, who turned men into pigs, the dangerous Sirens, the monster Scylla and the whirlpool monster Charybdis, the prophecy from the blind seer Tiresia and his time on Calypso’s island. The next day Odysseus set out for home. Once he arrived home he was greeted by Athena in a disguise and she told Odysseus to go to his swineherd Eumaeus. Before he goes to see the swineherd Athena disguises him as a beggar. Then Athena went to Telemachus to tell him to sail home.
With the help of Athena, Telemachus avoids the suitor and was reunited with his father Odysseus. Then they began planning how to kill all the suitors. While in his disguise Odysseus investigated the palace. The suitors and some of the servants assaulted and treated him like he was nothing. Later on, Penelope finds him and asks him about her husband. The next day she poses a challenge, whoever can string my dead husband’s bow and shoot an arrow through 12 ax heads will be my husband. All the suitors tried and failed. That is when Odysseus still disguise as a beggar strings the bow and fires an arrow through all the ax heads. After that Odysseus and Telemachus begin to kill all the suitors. He is then reunited with his wife who is worried this might be a god in disuse. To test that this was truly Odysseus she asked her servant to move her bed. Odysseus responded with, you can’t move the bed because it is part of a living tree. After Odysseus takes care of the slaughter at the palace he goes to his father to tell him he is home. While visiting his father, an army of the suitor’s relatives show up at Laertes’ house. Athena persuades Laertes to kill the ringleader, which happen to be Antinous’ father. After all, is said and done Athena orders peace between the two sides. The Percy Jackson series begins with a school field trip to a museum. During the trip, a bully, Nancy Bobofit, bullies Percy’s friend Grover. So, Percy defends his friend by using the water from the fountain to grab Nancy. Percy had no idea he was capable of such a feat. Nancy believed that she was pushed into the fountain, and lies about the incident to Mrs. Dodds, Percy’s pre-algebra teacher. Mrs. Dodds separates Percy from the rest of the class before she transforms into one of the Furies from Greek mythology and attacks him. Mr. Brunner, Percy’s Latin teacher, tosses a pen to Percy, and when uncapped, it transforms into a sword. Percy kills Mrs. Dodds.
After the school lets out for the summer Percy and his mother head to their cabin on the water. During the same night, they get there a storm rages, and Grover warns them to flee. While they are feeling to camp half-blood, they were attacked by The Minotaur. In the ensuing chaos, Percy’s mother disappears in a gold flash when the monster grabs her. Enraged by this Percy kills the Minotaur with its own horn and promptly passes out. Days later he wakes up in the infirmary. After accepting his current predicament which includes him being a demi-god. He starts training and participates at camp. After a series of events at camp, he is claimed by his father Poseidon. However, just as the trident that claimed him fades away, a hellhound bursts into camp and tries to kill Percy, which was quickly killed by Chiron the camp director. Shortly after this, the Oracle of Delphi tells Percy the prophecy of the quest she will be sending him and 2 others on. Percy, Grover and Percy’s new friend Annabeth, a daughter of Athena are tasked by the Oracle to retrieve Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt. Mistakenly they believed it was taken by Poseidon. But in truth, the lighting blot was taken by Hades in the hope of starting a war of the gods. While on their journey west to Hades and to the land of the dead, they had to face many challenges.
Among these challenges were monsters such as Medusa, the Furies, Chimera, Echidna, and Procrustes. They were also trapped for a couple of days at the Lotus Hotel. Once they made it to the underworld they had to get passed Cerberus When they made it to Hades, Percy was accused of stealing Hades’ helm of darkness but the real truth is Percy had the lightning bolt all along in his backpack which Ares gave him earlier in his journey. After narrowly escaping the underworld, Percy is forced into a duel with the god of war Ares for the Helm of darkness. After defeating Ares, he returns the helm of darkness to Hades and returns the lightning bolt to Zeus and found out a friend at camp half-blood named Luke was the thief and is working for Kronos. His next adventure began with Percy having strange dreams about Grover in danger Percy is worried for his best friend, who has gone to fulfill his dream of finding Pan. Tyson is attacked in school by Laistrygonian Giants. Annabeth manages to save them, although the school gym is left in ruins. When they arrive at camp, Percy is horrified to learn that Thalia’s tree has been poisoned and the camp’s magic borders are weakening.
Monsters enter CampHalf- Blood and attack frequently. Chiron has been fired as he has been suspected of poisoning the tree. His post as activities director is taken over by Tantalus. Tyson is also discovered to be a baby Cyclops and son of Poseidon, half-brother to Percy. Shortly after Percy got back to camp Clarisse a bully of Percy was given the quest to find the golden fleece and wouldn’t accept the help of Percy or Annabeth. So later that night Percy sneaks out to contemplate what to do when Hermes meets him. Hermes the god of thieves tells him to go on the quest to find the Golden Fleece and even gives him some supplies. In return, Hermes asks Percy to help his son Luke. He then sneaks off camp with Tyson and Annabeth into the sea with the help of Hermes and Poseidon. They board Luke’s ship unknowingly and are captured but manage to escape.
After that, they go to a hideout and rest until a hydra shows up. Unprepared to fight such a monster they think it is all over until Clarisse and her ship of ghostly Confederate soldier’s fire upon the beast killing it and force the trio into the ship. From there they continue on to the sea of monsters aka the Bermuda triangle where the face Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. They chose to take on Charybdis instead of Scylla. when they thought they had finally escaped the boiler on their ship exploded. During the ensuing chaos, they lost Tyson but managed to find a lifeboat and escape. Unfortunately, they just floating adrift on the sea after the ran out of the winds of Allos. Hours past until they came upon what looked like a spa but in actuality, it was Circe’s island. After being turned into a guinea pig Annabeth managed to defeat Circe and free all her prisoners and changed them back to normal. To escape the island they took blackbird’s Ship and with Percy’s power, they are able to pilot the ship and set sail towards the island with the Golden Fleece. As they get closer to the island with the Sirens Annabeth asked to be tied to the mast of the ship so she can hear their song so she can grow wiser. Percy does as she wishes. However, it doesn’t go according to plan somehow Annabeth got out of the ropes and began to swim towards them that is when Percy goes in to rescue her. After that, they discuss what she heard and continued on to Polyphemus island where the fleece is. Once they are on the island they notice another lifeboat which belonged to the Confederate ship, so they assumed that Clarisse is also on the island. Once the found there way inside the cave they distracted Polyphemus by saying that Nobody has returned. They manage to get the fleece and rescue Grover.
After they get back to the states they sent Clarisse back to Camp Half-Blood with the fleece by airplane. Shortly after that, they are captured again by Luke on his ship. In order to clear Chiron name, Percy made an Iris message to camp half-blood and tricked Luke into admitting, in front of the camp, that he was the one who poisoned Thalia’s tree. Percy causes a small distraction to allow a pure black Pegasus, Blackjack, to escape. They return to camp as heroes and Chiron is once again camp director. Thalia’s tree is healed by the legendary Golden Fleece which is later protected by a dragon. Things return to normal, except someone is assigned to guard the tree in shifts. One night, while Annabeth is taking her shift, a scream is heard, and everyone rushes to see what has happened. A girl is lying beside the tree with Annabeth bending over her, shocked. The girl is revealed to be Thalia herself. I know it sounds farfetched at first, that the Odyssey is nothing like the Percy Jackson series. One is about an ancient Greek hero and the other is about some demi-god in New York. They are more similar than you realize, for example, they both faced the same enemies. In the Odyssey, Odysseus faced Circe, the witch, the dangerous Sirens, the monster Scylla and the whirlpool monster Charybdis, the Laistrygonian and the Cyclops Polyphemus. Percy also faced these very same monsters but with a modern twist. Percy even went to the same locations as Odysseus. These locations were the Lotus Hotel aka (the island of the Lotus Eaters), Circe’s spa aka (Circe’s island), Calypso’s island, and the underworld. Not only are the people they battle similar and the locations similar but, they both had the favor of gods.
In Percy Jackson’s case, it was Poseidon, Hermes, Hestia, Hera, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, and Artemis helped him in one way or another. In Odysseus case, it was Athena, Hermes, Zeus, Aeolus, and Calypso who help him in his journey. Another similarity between the two is that they both possessed the winds of Aeolus. Some of their characteristics are similar. For example, by the end of both of their journeys, they are both tired of fighting. For Percy it was after the war with Gia, for Odysseus it was after the slaughter of suitors. Not only are the characters and events similar, but they are also perfect examples of Hero’s journey. The similarities between Percy Jackson and the Odyssey are very apparent. The Percy Jackson series was written as a modern interpretation of the Odyssey and of Greek myths as a whole. I personally believe that the Percy Jackson series is the spiritual successor of the Odyssey.