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The Odyssey Book 11 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:


Quote 4

(Odysseus, in his tale:) "Mother, why will you not wait for me, when I am trying to hold you, so that even in Hades' with our arms embracing we can both take the satisfaction of dismal mourning? Or are you nothing but an image that proud Persephone sent my way, to make me grieve all the more for sorrow?" (11.210-214)

Say what you want about Odysseus (he's full of himself, he's a player, he got all his men killed), but he sure does love his momma.


Quote 5

(Odysseus:) 'So I spoke, and my queenly mother answered me quickly: "All too much with enduring heart she does wait for you there in your own palace, and always with her the wretched nights and the days also waste her away with weeping. No one yet holds your fine inheritance, but in freedom Telemachos administers your allotted lands, and apportions the equal feasts, work that befits a man with authority to judge, for all to call him in. Your father remains, on the estate where he is, and does not go to the city. There is no bed there nor is there bed clothing nor blankets nor shining coverlets, but in the winter time he sleeps in the house, where the thralls do, in the dirt next to the fire, and with foul clothing upon him. (11.180-203)

When Odysseus sees his mother in the Underworld, she updates him on his family. It's not as convenience as checking your Facebook newsfeed to see how your brother's doing—and it does involve some unsavory blood drinking—but it does the job.


Quote 6

(Teiresias, in Odysseus’s tale:) ‘“But after you have killed these suitors in your palace, either by treachery, or openly with the sharp bronze, then you must take up your well-shaped oar and go on a journey until you come where there are men living who know nothing of the sea, and who eat food that is not mixed with salt, who never have known ships whose cheeks are painted purple, who never have known-well-shaped oars, which act for ships as wings do. And I will tell you a very clear proof, and you cannot miss it. When, as you walk, some other wayfarer happens to meet you, and says you carry a winnow-fan on your bright shoulder, then you must plant your well-shaped oar in the ground, and render ceremonious sacrifice to the lord Poseidon, one ram and one bull, and a mounter of sows, a boar pig, and make your way home again and render holy hecatombs to the immortal gods who hold the wide heaven, all of them in order. Death will come to you from the sea, in some altogether unwarlike way, and it will end you in the ebbing time of a sleek old age. Your people about you will be prosperous. All this is true that I tell you.”’ (11.119-137)

Here, Teiresias tells Odysseus about his ultimate fate – which will happen after the end of the Odyssey. How does this knowledge of Odysseus’s eventual death affect the mood at the end of the poem?

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