In this dialogue, the author of the Odyssey has an imaginary talk with the story's main character Ulysses (the Latin name for Odysseus). He is also the author, ascribed by their Ancient Greeks, of the other epic poem called the Iliad. Ithaca is the real place the author ascribes the home or kingdom of the imaginary character Ulysses. Here in the west we still need ways to guide us through our own journey and many people find substance in these two epic poems.
Homer: Well, Odysseus, you are finally coming home from the Trojan War. What shall you do?
Ulysses: I wish you would use my Latin name. And not dwell on the past.
H: I am a poet. My job is to unify humanity.
U: Sure, anything you say, so now I have to go on an epic adventure!
H: Yes, rather than dwelling on the war and anger, I want you to bring us together by illustrating that life is a journey and that god intervenes along the way.
U: Yes, yes, but why does it have to be so long, can't you just let me go home and be done with it. For God's sake, it takes a good twenty years. And what's up with all the gods?
H: Odysseus, 20 years to represent the gods and a person's life is nothing. Humanity must understand that life is full of 'ups and downs' and that the gods or 'what we believe' is important in learning along the way.
U: Well, I'm okay about your message, but I prefer to be called Ulysses.
H: Very well, I wouldn't want to make you angry, again.