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The Odyssey Book 1 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:

Quote 7

Then the haughty suitors came in, and all of them straightway took their places in order on chairs and along the benches, and their heralds poured water over their hands for them to wash with, and the serving maids brought them bread heaped up in the baskets, and the young men filled the mixing bowls with wine for their drinking. They put their hands to the good things that lay ready before them. But when they had put away their desire for eating and drinking, the suitors found their attention turned to other matters, the song and the dance; for these things come at the end of the feasting. (1.144-152)

Immediately after Telemachos demonstrates the proper way to act, the suitors come in and demonstrate…the not-so-proper way. The fact that these two passages are placed right next to each other only highlights the contrast.


Quote 8

(Telemachos:) ‘For all the greatest men who have the power in the islands, in Doulichion and Same and in wooded Zakynthos, and all who in rocky Ithaka are holders of lordships, all these are after my mother for marriage, and wear my house out. And she does not refuse the hateful marriage, nor is she able to make an end of the matter; and these eating up my substance waste it away; and soon they will break me myself to pieces.’ (1.245-251)

Telemachos isn’t just complaining about the obviously rude and disrespectful behavior of the suitors; he’s complaining about a far more serious transgression: that they are breaking Zeus’s rules of hospitality. He also hints at the impending plot against his life.

Telemachos > Athene

Quote 9

Telemachos replied: ‘My guest, your words to me are very kind and considerate, what any father would say to his son. I shall not forget them. But come now, stay with me, eager though you are for your journey, so that you must first bathe and take your ease and, well rested and happy in your heart, then go back to your ship with a present, something prized, altogether fine, which will be your keepsake from me, what loving guests and hosts bestow on each other.’ (1.307-313)

Telemachos shows his hospitality and gratefulness to Athene even though he does not know her true identity; this may be one of the reasons Athene disguises herself, to discern the true nature of various mortals. Clearly, Telemachos passed the test.

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