Stone Washington
Trump's Odyssey
By Stone Washington
July 31, 2016

"A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time"

"There is no greater fame for a man than that which he wins with his footwork or the skill of his hands."

~ Homer, the Odyssey

"Remember: all of the people telling you that you can't have the country you want, are the same people telling you that I wouldn't be standing here tonight. No longer can we rely on those elites in media, and politics, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place."

~ Donald Trump, RNC speech

Background to Homer's Odyssey

Homer's Odyssey begins with Odysseus, King of Ithaca, has been away from home for a total of 20 years-10 spent fighting in the Trojan War and 10 spent wandering. For the past seven years he has been held captive on a remote island ruled by the mystical goddess Calypso. Odysseus' wife Queen Penelope remains faithful in her husband's return, believing that he is alive. Her faith is pressed by the dozens of suitors seeking her hand in marriage and the control over the throne. But Penelope refuses to marry, confident that Odysseus will return soon. Penelope and her young son Prince Telemachus remain powerless to get rid of the many suitors.

Books 1-4

The Olympian god of the Sea, Poseidon holds a strong hatred toward Odysseus for blinding his son, one of the Cyclopes, a race of giant one-eyed humanoids. Despite this, Athena, goddess of wisdom takes the side of Odysseus and asks Zeus, chief of the gods to allow Odysseus to return home. When Zeus agrees, Athena disguises herself as a mortal stranger and visits Telemachus. He receives her kindly despite the suitors' rudeness. On Athena's advice Telemachus protests the suitors' behavior, but the men refuse to leave the kingdom. Athena then disguises herself as Mentor, an old friend of Odysseus and urges Telemachus to journey to neighboring kingdoms for news of Odysseus. During this quest, Telemachus visits King Nestor in Pylos, and King Menelaus in Sparta, both of whom were Odysseus' allies in the Trojan War. Menelaus has heard that Odysseus is being held captive by Calypso. While growing in maturity and intelligence through his journey, Telemachus is forced to return home with only limited knowledge of his father. Meanwhile, the suitors plan to ambush and kill Telemachus, and Penelope finds that she has no way of warning him.

Books 5-8

Zeus orders Calypso to release Odysseus. Odysseus is able to escape Calypso's island only to be swept up 18 days later in a huge storm by Poseidon that nearly drowns him. Being near the land of Phaeacia, Odysseus swims to shore and is met by the Phaeacian princess Nausicaa, who sends him to her parents. Odysseus arrives at the lavish home of King Alcinous and Queen Arete and asks for a transport home. They agree to help him, and the next day hold a banquet in Odysseus' honor. Odysseus is moved to tears when the people sing the songs of the Trojan War, and when Alcinous sees this, he asks Odysseus to give his personal narrative of the war.

Books 9-12

Odysseus tells the Phaecians about what happened to him after the Trojan War. Upon leaving Troy, Odysseus and his men encountered many strange creatures and places –
  • The Kikones, whose town they sacked;

  • The Lotus-Eaters and the Cyclopes;

  • Aiolos, King of the winds; the monstrous Laistrygones, who destroyed all but one of the Trojan ships;

  • The enchantress Circe;

  • The underworld itself (where Hades god of the dead resides);

  • The deadly Sirens, who tried to lure Odysseus and his men to destruction with their seductive music;

  • The massive sea monster Scylla and the treacherous whirlpool Charybdis; and finally

  • The island of the sun god Helios.
Odysseus begins telling his tales, starting with the time he and his men were resting on the island of Cyclopes enjoying their rich, primitive land, curiously seeking gifts, eventually stumbling upon the cave of the monstrously large Cyclops named Polyphemus. When asked his name, Odysseus lies telling him it is "Nobody." Immediately the crafty Cyclops placed a large boulder at the only entrance of the cave, trapping Odysseus and his men. The Cyclops the mercilessly ate several of Odysseus' men for dinner, as Odysseus and the others watched helplessly in horror.

Throughout Homer's Odyssey, the reader repeatedly observes the military tactics and strategies (particularly under duress) where like in this terrible scene being locked inside the cave of the Cyclops, Odysseus and his remaining men were able to escape by following Odysseus' instructions made on the fly and making a batch of strong wine, getting the Cyclops drunk and then blinding him with a flaming sharpened wooden log.

Howling in pain the Cyclops opened the door of the cave letting only his large sheep out. Odysseus, the master strategist and improviser, captured several elephant-sized sheep, and he and his men hid under their bellies as the Cyclops felt them exiting the cave. When calling for help the Cyclops yelled that "Nobody is killing me!" The men escaped and in his pride, Odysseus yelled out his true name as he sailed away. Polyphemus cursed him while hurling large boulders at Odysseus's ship. Because of this, Poseidon, the father of the Cyclopes, prevented Odysseus from returning home for eight more years.

Odysseus' last ship sails to Aeaea. When some of Odysseus' men are sent to explore the island, they are turned into pigs by the enchantress Circe. Odysseus confronts Circe and wins the men's freedom from her spell by becoming her lover for a year. When the men insisted on leaving the island, Circe told Odysseus he must journey to the underworld, home of the dead. With her help, Odysseus journeys there and saw Agamemnon, leader of the Greek army in the Trojan War, and the prophet Tiresias, who predicted Odysseus's homecoming and future trials. After his perilous journey to the underworld, Odysseus travels to the island of Helios, where his men ate several sacred cattle prompting Zeus to punish them by destroying their ship.

In the next scene Odysseus tells the riveting narrative about how (on a new ship) he escaped the Sirens enchanting singing by tying himself to the mast while his men plugged their ears to avoid being hypnotized by their voices. Odysseus describes how he and his men escaped the twin terrors of the sea: the sea monster Scylla, losing six of his men to the beast, and on a separate account facing the whirlpool Charybdis, by choosing to sail through the whirlpool and hanging onto a fig tree attached to a nearby boulder until the boat emerged from the turbulent reverse current, thus allowing Odysseus to recover the raft and sail away.

Odysseus battling the Scylla

Books 13-16

Moved by the stories, the Phaeacians give Odysseus many gifts and a ship to escort him and his men to Ithaca. But during their trip home, their ships suddenly turn to stone, as a punishment for helping the man who had blinded Poseidon's son (Cyclops). After nine years, Athena finally reveals herself to Odysseus and tells him the troubling news in Ithaca. Athena then turns Odysseus into an old beggar who travels to his loyal herdsman Eumaios at his farm, and learns more about the situation at home. Elsewhere, Telemachus along with the prophet Theoklymenos leaves Sparta, eluding the suitor's ambush, traveling to Eumaios. At Athena's prompting, Odysseus reveals himself to his son. Telemachus, although suspicious at first, is soon reassured that his father has returned. Together they plan to hide the suitors' weapons and ambush them. Meanwhile the suitors hear of Telemachus's safe return and plan to marry his mother, Penelope soon.

Books 17-19

Telemachus meets with Penelope while Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, approaches the palace with Eumaios. The men are ambushed by the evil servant Melanthius, who taunts and kicks the beggar (Odysseus). Here our hero has the discipline of his military tactics and strategies, allowing this personal abuse rather than to launch is plan prematurely. Finally Odysseus (still dressed as a beggar) enters the hall, attending the evening feast. At the table, Telemachus honors the beggar (Odysseus), despite the rudeness of the suitors in the very home of their king. The beggar tests the men's character by begging from them. Penelope, hearing about the arrival of a stranger (Odysseus) from Eumaios, dresses beautifully and appears in the hall, prompting the suitors to offer gifts and compliments. Odysseus is pleased with her beauty and cleverness, having the first sight of his wife in 20 years.

Later Penelope and the beggar (Odysseus) speak in private after Telemachus removes the suitors' weapons from the hall. Penelope tells the beggar about how the army of suitors has sought her hand in marriage for the past 3 years. She tells him that she will marry one after she finishes making a funeral shroud for her father-in-law Laertes. To buy herself time from marrying a suitor, she weaves it by day and unravels it by night. Testing the character of his wife, the beggar (Odysseus) gives Penelope hopeful news that Odysseus will return, and a grateful Penelope, not daring to believe him, sends his old nurse, Eurykleia, to bathe him. Eurykleia recognizes Odysseus by his scar on his leg, but Odysseus swears her to secrecy. Later Penelope tells him a dream she had: an eagle killed her 20 geese, prompting the beggar to perceive this as an omen of Odysseus's return and the suitors' deaths. Penelope proposes a contest: she will marry the suitor who can string Odysseus's bow and shoot an arrow through 12 axe heads; the beggar promptly accepts the challenge.

Books 20-21

Soundly sleeping, Odysseus awakens in the night and receives an omen of his success. The next day, Telemachus honors the beggar (Odysseus) and snubs the suitors. When Penelope orders the start of the bow contest the entire army of suitors struggle futilely to string the bow. Odysseus reveals himself to Eumaios and tells him his plan. Penelope then insists that the beggar be allowed to try the bow. Telemachus agrees but sends Penelope from the hall and orders Eurykleia to bar the doors. Superiorly strong and skilled, Odysseus effortlessly strings the bow and shoots arrow through all 12 axe heads.

Books 22-23

All of the suitors are frozen in complete shock. With the help of Athena, Odysseus, Telemachus, and the two herdsmen, slaughter all of the suitors, capture and kill Melanthius, force the 10 unfaithful servant women to move the bodies and clean the hall-then they hang the women while the singer plays wedding music to fool the public near his palace. When Eurykleia tells Penelope that Odysseus is home, introducing him bathed, well-dressed, and made more handsome by Athena, Penelope refuses to believe that he is truly her husband. Penelope tests Odysseus by asking a servant to move her bed outside (which Odysseus made himself), prompting Odysseus to query if someone had destroyed the bed since it has a living olive tree as a bedpost and thus is impossible to move. This convinces Penelope that he is truly Odysseus, and she joyfully embraces him, making love to him all night.

Odysseus slaying the suitors

Book 24

Odysseus visits the farm where his father Laertes lives in poverty, and the two have a happy reunion. Meanwhile the suitors' families prepare to take revenge on Odysseus. As fighting breaks out, Athena appears and makes peace between Odysseus and the Ithacan nobles.

Message for Modern day

This article inspired by Homer's Odyssey, a continuation of my previous work entitled, "Trump's Iliad", and holds many similarities and comparisons to America's political Odyssey: the 2016 Presidential election. Odysseus represents the embattled Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, who like Odysseus, has endured many seemingly impossible trials and journeys to attain the GOP nomination, including defeating 16 able GOP rivals in a long and heated Primary year.

Facing insurmountable odds, both men emerge from their perilous journeys triumphant, Odysseus returning to his throne as King of Ithaca, and Trump returning to his throne in New York as the GOP Presidential nominee. Both men have attained success in life through their shared knack for asymmetrical warfare, unconventional wisdom, and the skill to think outside the box and predict canny solutions in troubling situations in an improvisatory manner.

Both men have proved their perceptive wisdom in the past: Odysseus, inventing the massive Trojan horse used to infiltrate the impregnable walls of Troy in the Trojan War; Trump, predicting a Trojan horse-like threat by ISIS within the non-existent borders of America through the insane executive amnesty policies of President Obama, which lead to an increase of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees to America. Trump in a sense, has been a positive Trojan horse like figure in the election, infiltrating and reconstructing (from within) the establishment makeup of both the Democrat and Republican Party with an array of extemporaneous prowess and a dynamic political strategies addressing the many tragedies facing America.

Donald Trump's surprise entrance into the Republican National Convention-2016

Odysseus's son Telemachus represents Trump's accomplished children, specifically Ivanka, Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., as heirs to the Trump dynasty. Like Telemachus maturing as a worthy successor to Odysseus, taking after father's fearless drive and brave endurance, Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric Trump have developed themselves as successful and astute experts in business by dutifully following after their father's legendary business management expertise in helping to maintain the multi-billion dollar Trump empire. As Telemachus aids and fights alongside his father in the story, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric have battled alongside their father throughout the turbulent 2016 Primary race, establishing the most Primary votes in GOP History. Penelope represents Melania Trump, both very beautiful women and close supporters of their husband's successes. Each woman share an undying faith for their husband is evident through the many uncertain years Penelope has waited for Odysseus's return from war, and Melania's powerful speech chronicling their years of marital devotion at the RNC in Cleveland, Ohio.

The many challenges Trump faced in the hectic Primary are similar to the many trials Odysseus faces in his dangerous journey. Poseidon and the Cyclops represent the one-eyed perception of the many naysayers, government officials, media pundits, and politicians on both sides of the isle who were outspoken against Trump's success in the race for the nomination, many using their influence and power to try to sabotage and sway voters and delegates from supporting Trump. This relentless sabotage upon Trump's Campaign by many, even including officials within the GOP, is synonymous with how Posiedon and Zeus repeatedly sabotaged Odysseus's voyage back home to Ithaca, even harming those who came to Odysseus' aid (e.g., the Phaeacians).

The enchantresses, Circe and Calypso represent the many lavish opportunities and desirable living options Trump could have if he refused to even run for the presidency. Repeatedly Trump and his family have stated that by his accomplishments, Trump isn't obligated to run for the presidency; already enjoying a storied life as the billionaire businessman. However, like Odysseus, Trump's undying love of America compels him to focus on the bigger picture of his journey and to place America First in the World, through his policy of "America First Nationalism."

Between a rock and a hard place: derives from the scene where Syclla and Chrybdis, the twin terrors of the sea, is representative of Trump's many twin threats within the Primary, as seen in the National debates when often contending with other Republican candidates like Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio at the same time. The astounding physical feat of stringing his bow and shooting an arrow through 12 axes accomplished only by Odysseus represents the phenomenon of how Trump singlehandedly defeated 16 other qualified presidential candidates to win the Republican nomination in 2016.

In the end, Trump has emerged from the chaotic Primary and nomination process victorious, reuniting with the Republican base by nominating a successful and beloved conservative – Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), similar to how Odysseus reunited with his loyal father Laertes. Now it is up to We the People to come out on Election Day in November, to vote for the only Presidential candidate proven to uphold the Judeo-Christian traditions and institutions of the Republican Party; a Man-of-Action to rid America of the failed Socialist Slavery regime and rigged system of President Barack Obama and the Democrats, and to fundamentally "Make America Great Again" under America First Nationalism.

All in the Family: Donald Trump, Mike Pence and family accepting the Republican nomination (21 July 2016)

*N.B.: This essay is based in part on a synopsis of Homer's Odyssey contained in, Dr. W. John Campbell, Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics (Fall River, 2000), pp. 561-568; Ellis Washington's essay, "On Fate," based in part on Homer's Odyssey.; Spark notes guide on the Odyssey.

© Stone Washington


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Stone Washington

Stone Washington is a PhD student in the Trachtenberg School at George Washington University. Stone is employed as a Research Fellow for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, focusing on economic policy as part of the Center for Advancing Capitalism. Previously, he completed a traineeship with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He was also a Research Assistant at the Manhattan Institute, serving as an extension from his time in the Collegiate Associate Program. During this time, he worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Clemson's Department of Political Science and served as a WAC Practicum Fellow for the Pearce Center for Professional Communication. Stone is also a member of the Steamboat Institute's Emerging Leaders Council.

Stone possesses a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Clemson University, a Juris Master from Emory University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Clemson University. While studying at Emory Law, Stone was featured in an exclusive JM Student Spotlight, highlighting his most memorable law school experience. He has completed a journalism fellowship at The Daily Caller, is an alumnus of the Young Leader's Program at The Heritage Foundation, and served as a former student intern/Editor for Decipher Magazine. Some of Stone's articles can be found at, which often provide a critical analysis of prominent works of classical literature and its correlations to American history and politics. Stone is a member of the Project 21 Black Leadership Network, and has written a number of policy-related op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The College Fix, Real Clear Policy, and City Journal. In addition, Stone is listed in the Marquis Who's Who in America and is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. Friend him on his Facebook page, also his Twitter handle: @StoneZone47 and Instagram. Email him at


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