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The Odyssey Book 10 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:


Quote 1

(Circe, in Odysseus’s tale:) ‘“Son of Laertes and seed of Zeus, resourceful Odysseus, you shall no longer stay in my house when none of you wish to; but first there is another journey you must accomplish and reach the house of Hades and of revered Persephone, there to consult with the soul of Teiresias the Theban, the blind prophet, whose senses stay unshaken within him, to whom alone Persephone has granted intelligence even after death, but the rest of them are flittering shadows.”’ (10.488-495)

It might seem kind of weird how Circe just suddenly up and tells Odysseus that he has to go to the Underworld, though since she’s a (minor) goddess herself, it kind of makes sense that she would know the will of the gods. Anyway, it’s important to remember that this comes from the part of the story narrated by Odysseus himself, in which we never get a “behind-the-scenes” look at what the gods are planning. Like Odysseus, we’re just along for the ride in this part of the story.


Quote 2

(Odysseus:) ‘Nevertheless we sailed on, night and day, for nine days, and on the tenth at last appeared the land of our fathers, and we could see people tending fires, we were very close to them. But then the sweet sleep came upon me, for I was worn out with always handling the sheet myself, and I could not give it to any other companion, so we could come home quicker to our own country; but my companions talked with each other and said that I was bringing silver and gold home with me, given me by great-hearted Aiolos, son of Hippotas; […] and the evil counsel of my companions prevailed, and they opened the bag and the winds all burst out. Suddenly the storm caught them away and swept them over the water weeping, away from their own country.’ (10.28-36, 46-49)

Could Odysseus’s pride be the culprit here? If he had told his men what was in the bag rather than lording it over them, they never would have opened the sack. On the other hand, his men’s sense of pride is responsible too—because they are too high-and-mighty to just put up with what their captain tells them.


Quote 3

(Odysseus:) "So she spoke to them, and the rest gave voice, and called her and at once she opened the shining doors, and came out, and invited them in, and all in their innocence entered; only Eurylochos waited outside, for he suspected treachery. She brought them inside and seated them on chairs and benches, and mixed them a potion, with barley and cheese and pale honey added to Pramneian wine, but put into the mixture malignant drugs, to make them forgetful of their own country. When she had given them this and they had drunk it down, next thing she struck them with her wand and drove them into her pig pens, and they took on the look of pigs, with the heads and voices and bristles of pigs, but the minds within them stayed as they had been before.' (10.229-241)

Here, Odysseus is telling the Phaiakians about Circe's trick. We don't like to blame the victim, but we have to say: given the way that strange women usually behave in this tale, eating her food is kind of a boneheaded move.

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