The Odyssey Book 4 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
They came into the cavernous hollow of Lakedaimon and made their way to the house of glorious Menelaos. They found him in his own house giving, for many townsmen, a wedding feast for his son and his stately daughter. The girl he was sending to the son of Achilleus, breaker of battalions, for in Troy land first he had nodded his head to it and promised to give her, and now the gods were bringing to pass their marriage; so he was sending her on her way, with horses and chariots, to the famous city of the Myrmidons, where Neoptolemos was lord, and he brought Alektor's daughter from Sparta, to give powerful Megapenthes, his young grown son born to him by a slave woman; but the gods gave no more children to Helen once she had borned her first and only child, the lovely Hermione, with the beauty of Aphrodite the golden. (4.1-14)
We meet Menelaos as a family man—someone who's making sure to do the right thing by his kids (with the god's help). He and Nestor make us realize how much Telemachos is missing out on by not having an involved dad around. Who's going to choose his bride?
(Proteus, in Menelaos's tale:) '"But you should have made grand sacrifices to Zeus and the other immortal gods, and so gone on board, so most quickly to reach your own country, sailing over the wine-blue water. It is not your destiny now to see your own people and come back to your strong-founded house and to the land of your fathers, until you have gone back once again to the water of Egypt, the sky-fallen river, and there have accomplished holy hecatombs in honor of all the immortal gods who hold wide heaven. Then the gods will grant you that journey that you so long for."' (4.472-480)
Coulda, shoulda, woulda. We're pretty sure that Odysseus will do a lot of sacrificing before he steps one foot on a boat again.
'[…] and Aias would have escaped his doom, though Athene hated him, had he not gone wildly mad and tossed out a word of defiance; for he said that in despite of the gods he escaped the great gulf of the sea, and Poseidon heard him, loudly vaunting, and at once with his ponderous hands catching up the trident he drove it against the Gyrean rock, and split a piece off it, and part of it stayed where it was, but a splinter crashed in the water, and this was where Aias had been perched when he raved so madly. It carried him down to the depths of the endless and tossing main sea. So Aias died, when he had swallowed down the salt water.' (4.502-511)
Now for something completely different. We see a lot of examples of piety in the Odyssey, and here's an example of impiety. It buys you a one way ticket to certain, immediate death.