The Odyssey
The Odyssey
by Homer

The Odyssey Book 4 Quotes Page 1

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How we cite the quotes:
(Book.Line)
Quote 1

(Menelaos:) ‘[…] no one of the Achaians labored as much as Odysseus labored and achieved, and for him the end was grief for him, and for me a sorrow that is never forgotten for his sake, how he is gone so long, and we know nothing of whether he is alive or dead.’ (4.106-110)

Menelaos seems to use fate for purposes of comfort; he is able to resign himself and accept his suffering (with regards to his missing friend) because it is the will of the gods.

Quote 2

(Proteus, in Menelaos's tale:) '"But for you, Menelaos, O fostered of Zeus, it is not the gods' will that you shall die and go to your end in horse-pasturing Argos, but the immortals will convey you to the Elysian Field, and the limits of the earth, where fair-haired Rhadamanthys is, and where there is made the easiest life for mortals, for there is no snow, nor much winter there, nor is there ever rain, but always the stream of Ocean sends up breezes of the West Wind blowing briskly for the refreshment of mortals."' (4.561-568)

Well, here's an example of fate planning something good: Odysseus isn't going to die and go to (presumably) Hades with the rest of us commoners. Instead, he's going to enjoy some immortality with the rest of the Greek heroes in the Elysian fields. Does that make his ten years of suffering any easier to deal with?

Quote 3

(Penelope:) '[…] and now again a beloved son is gone on a hollow ship, an innocent all unversed in fighting and speaking, and it is for him I grieve even more than for that other one, and tremble for him and fear, lest something should happen to him either in the country where he has gone, or on the wide sea, for he has many who hate him and are contriving against him and striving to kill him before he comes back into his own country.' (4.817-823)

Poor Penelope. She lost her husband and now her son—it's too bad she didn't have a daughter who could stay safely inside and spin all day with her. (Except for the whole super-high risk of dying in childbirth problem.

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