Athena: The goddess of wisdom and war favors and adores Odysseus. He also does well with the ladies, having been with Circe the sorceress and Calypso the goddess. Odysseus is the husband of Queen Penelope and the father of Prince Telemachus.
Many epithets are attached to him. He is willing to pay a price for knowledge; for example, he insists on hearing the Sirens' call, even though to do so, he must have himself excruciatingly strapped to the mast of his ship so that he cannot give in to the temptation.
Odysseus often has only two choices: death or victory. He is also a convincing, articulate speaker and can win over or manipulate his audience with ease.
Read an in-depth analysis of Circe. His men prefer to stay, leading to a defeat at the hands of reinforcements. His concern with victory is also cultural, as well as practical. He is deeper than Achilles, more contemplative, but still capable of explosive violence; he is almost certainly more interesting.
She often appears in disguise as Mentor, an old friend of Odysseus. Read an in-depth analysis of Odysseus. Odysseus can be merciful, as when he spares the bard Phemius, or brutal, as he seems when dealing with the dozen disloyal maidservants.
On his journey home, he runs into many obstacles and creatures that he must overcome.