The Odyssey
The Odyssey
by Homer

The Odyssey Book 5 Quotes Page 1

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

(Zeus:) ‘[Odysseus] shall come back by the convoy neither of the gods nor of mortal people, but he shall sail on a jointed raft and, suffering hardships, on the twentieth day make his landfall on fertile Scheria at the country of the Phaiakians who are near the gods in origin, and they will honor him in their hearts as a god, and send him back, by ship, to the beloved land of his fathers, bestowing bronze and hold in abundance upon him, and clothing, more than Odysseus could ever have taken away from Troy, even if he had escaped unharmed with his fair share of the plunder. For so it is fated that he shall see his people and come back to his house with the high roof and to the land of his fathers.’ (5.31-42)

Zeus reveals that it is his will – and thus Fate – that Odysseus should reach Ithaka safely and with treasure – but without his friends at his side. Fate, then, is determined by the will of this god and subject to change at his whim; it isn’t a pre-planned determination.

Quote 2

(Ino:) ‘Poor man, why is Poseidon the shaker of the earth so bitterly cankered against you, to give you such a harvest of evils? And yet he will not do away with you, for all his anger. But do as I say, since you seem to me not lacking in good sense. Take off these clothes, and leave the raft to drift at the winds’ will, and then strike out and swim with your hands and make for a landfall on the Phaiakian country, where your escape is destined.’ (5.339-344)

Apparently, Odysseus’s fate is common knowledge – even among the lesser gods.

Quote 3

And as welcome as the show of life again in a father is to his children, when he has lain sick, suffering strong pains, and wasting long away, and the hateful death spirit has brushed him, but then, and it is welcome, the gods set him free of his sickness, so welcome appeared land and forest now to Odysseus, and he swam, pressing on, so as to set foot on the mainland. (5.394-399)

Here's another of those epic similes (see "Writing Style" for more), where some big adventure is compared to a small domestic event. Most of us won't ever know what it's like to be shipwrecked, but we can probably all imagine what it's like to have a parent recover from illness.

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