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The Odyssey Book 14 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:


Quote 1

(Eumaios:) ‘You too, old man of many sorrows, since the spirit brought you here to me, do not try to please me nor spell me with lying words. It is not for that I will entertain and befriend you, but for fear of Zeus, the god of guests, and for my own pity.’ (14.386-389)

Odysseus, for the first time, has proven an unworthy guest by telling lies to his host. Eumaios sees this, but overrides his hesitation at this dishonesty out of respect to Zeus. The rules of the gods, we see, are all-important.

Quote 2

The swineherd stood up to divide the portions, for he was fair minded, and separated all the meat into seven portions. One he set aside, with a prayer, for the nymphs and Hermes, the son of Maia, and the rest he distributed to each man, but gave Odysseus in honor the long cuts of the chine’s portion of the white-toothed pig, and so exalted the heart of his master. (14.432-438)

Eumaios honors his guest like a king, taking the cuts usually saved for a lord from the meat and giving them to Odysseus. He also honors him in the same ritual with which he honors the gods, practically equating his guest to a divine being.


Quote 3

(Eumaios:) ‘[…] any vagrant who makes his way to the land of Ithaka goes to my mistress and babbles his lies to her, and she then receives him well and entertains him and asks him everything, and as she mourns him the tears run down from her eyes, since this is the right way for a wife when her husband has perished.’ (14.126-130)

Penelope’s actions are driven by her loyalty for her husband – perhaps this loyalty is the very reason she refuses to accept the common (and, given the length of his absence, quite reasonable) belief that he is dead.

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