© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Odyssey Elpenor Quotes


Quote 1

(Elpenor, in Odysseus’s tale:) ‘“Son of Laertes and seed of Zeus, resourceful Odysseus, the evil will of the spirit and the wild wine bewildered me. I lay down on the roof of Circe’s palace, and never thought, when I went down, to go by way of the long ladder, but blundered straight off the edge of the roof, so that my neck bone was broken out of its sockets, and my soul went down to Hades’. […] I know that after you leave this place and the house of Hades you will put back with your well-made ship to the island, Aiaia; there at that time, my lord, I ask that you remember me, and do not go and leave me behind unwept, unburied, when he leave, for fear I might become the gods’ curse upon you; but burn me there with all my armor that belongs to me, and heap up a grave mound beside the beach of that gray sea, for an unhappy man, so that those to come will know of me. Do this for me, and on top of the grave mound plant the oar with which I rowed when I was alive and among my companions.”’ (11.60-65, 69-78)

We wish every drunken mistake we make could be chalked up to luck or fate. Oh, and if you wanted, you could read Elpenor’s fate as a test for Odysseus, a test of his own piety and, in turn, whether or not he is worthy of his own destiny.