Before he reached home, Odysseus had to avoid the disastrous effect of the Lotus plant. Thus, he had to flee the Lotus-eaters, fight with Sirens, and confront Charybdis and Scylla.
After leaving Troy, Odysseus and his men hope for a quick return to their homes in Ithaca. However, the sea god Poseidon seeks revenge for his son Polyphemus, whom Odysseus has blinded. The hero and his crew are led astray from their path and find themselves on an unknown island. Odysseus sends several of his men to see if there are any civilized people in this region. However, when they do not return, Odysseus takes the rest of the crew and searches for them on the island. Eventually, they discover the lost individuals have eaten Lotus.
The lotus plant, in Odyssey, has unique properties. It makes any person that eats the fruit forget everything about themselves and their purpose. In other words, if Odysseus eats this plant, he will cease to think about his home and family. However, Odysseus resists trying this magic fruit and carries the affected men to the ship. He ties them and flees the island, never to return. A more detailed description of Lotus-eaters is given here.
Before learning about Lotus-eaters, Odysseus first gets information on Sirens. They are beautiful but deadly creatures. Sorceress Circe warns the hero that he will not see his family if he does not learn how to fight Sirens. Circe says that these creatures will be in Odysseus’s path. He must ensure that songs of Sirens do not affect him and his crew. Sirens are half-bird and half-woman creatures that lure sailors from their path with their beautiful singing. Often, after hearing their songs, sailors wreck their ships because of losing control.
Circe’s words make Odysseus wary of Sirens’ appearance in the near future. To take precautions and save his and crew’s life, the hero orders the men to put wax into their ears. That way, they become deaf to the singing of Sirens. When two of these creatures start singing from a nearby island, Odysseus manages to defeat them only by making the crew stay ignorant of their voices. However, the hero himself wanted to experience the beauty of their songs. He asks the men to tie him so that he cannot steer the ship while he is affected by the Sirens.
Not long after avoiding the Sirens, Odysseus and his men are confronted by another obstacle previously described by Circe. Their ship must sail between Scylla and Charybdis. Scylla is a six-headed creature that consumes one person for each of the heads. The monster provokes fear and puts sailors into disorientation. Charybdis, on the other hand, is far more dangerous than Scylla. It is a whirlpool that can destroy the whole ship.
Circe tells Odysseus to remain calm and sail by the side of Scylla’s lair. This way, the ship can escape the whirlpool at a small price. When passing by Charybdis and watching the spiral from the other side of the canal, Scylla’s six heads come out of the lair to eat six of Odysseus’s men. However, the ship stays safe, and the hero and the crew can sail forward.