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The Odyssey Book 8 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:

Quote 1

So the famous singer sang his tale, but Odysseus melted, and from under his eyes the tears ran down, drenching his cheeks. As a woman weeps, lying over the body of her dear husband, who fell fighting for her city and people as he tried to beat off the pitiless day from city and children; she sees him dying and gasping for breath, and winding her body about him she cries high and shrill, while the men behind her, hitting her with their spear butts on the back and the shoulders, force her up and lead her away into slavery, to have hard work and sorrow, and her cheeks are wracked with pitiful weeping. Such were the pitiful tears Odysseus shed from under his brows, but they went unnoticed by all the others […]. (8.521-532)

Yet another epic simile uses the familial motif to shows the depth Odysseus’s emotion.


Quote 2

(Alkinoös:) 'Now let us go outside and make our endeavor in all contests, so that our stranger can tell his friends, after he reaches his home, by how much we surpass all others in boxing, wrestling, leaping and speed of our feet for running.' (8.100-103)

Alkinoös is pretty proud of his kingdom, but notice that he's not comparing them to gods, or anything—just other men. Still, this is one of those tricky moments where we're not sure if this is justifiable pride or simply boasting. Given that Homer seems to like the Phaiakians, we're pretty sure that it's justifiable.


Quote 3

(Odysseus:) 'I know well how to handle the polished bow, and would be first to strike any man with an arrow aimed at a company of hostile men … But I will say that I stand far out ahead of all others such as are living mortals now and feed on the earth. Only I will not set myself against men of the generations before, not with Herakles nor Eurytos of Oichalia, who set themselves against the immortals with the bow, and therefore great Eurytos died suddenly nor came to an old age in his own mansions, since Apollo in anger against him killed him, because he had challenged Apollo in archery.' (8.215-228)

It looks like Odysseus has learned his lesson since boasting to the Cyclops—at least, part of his lesson. He's still claiming to be the best archer living, but key word living. He's going to claim that he's the best archer ever or anything. Because that would just be bragging.

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