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Character Analysis

Elpenor is the guy who wandered up to Circe's roof and fell to his death before the men departed. Odysseus talks to him in the underworld, where Elpenor asks for a proper burial: "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" (11.60-65, 69-78).

And so Odysseus actually sails all the way back to Circe's island to give this poor guy a proper burial. That's how important funeral rites are.