Arete was the queen of the island of Scheria in Greek mythology, wife of Alcinous, and mother of Nausicaa and Laodamas. She was also the niece of her husband, as Alcinous and Rhexenor, Arete's father, were brothers, descendants of the god Poseidon.
When Odysseus arrived in the island, he met Nausicaa initially, who, wanting to help him, told him to appeal to her mother for protection. The goddess Athena also advised him similarly and Odysseus went straight to Arete to ask for protection. Arete received him hospitably and made sure his needs were met.
Apart from her role in the Odyssey, Arete was also mentioned in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. Along with her husband, they were the rulers of an island were Jason and the Argonauts went to, on their way back from Colchis and while being chased by the Colchian army. The couple received them hospitably and protected them from their followers. The Colchians demanded that Medea be handed over to them, but Alcinous said he would only do that if she was still a virgin; otherwise, she would be considered Jason's wife. As a result, the Colchian army had to return back to their land without Medea, while Jason and the rest went onwards to their journey.