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The Odyssey Eumaios 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

Odysseus seems to agree with his men that hunger is the worst kind of suffering.

(Eumaios:) ‘All too much with enduring heart she does wait for him there in your own palace, and always with her the wretched nights and the days also waste her away with weeping.’ (16.37-39)


Quote 3

Penelope’s grieving is implicitly compared to that of Odysseus.

(Eumaios:) ‘Shall I on the same errand go with the news to wretched Laertes, who while he so greatly grieved for Odysseus yet would look after his farm and with the thralls in his household would eat and drink, whenever the spirit was urgent with him; but now, since you went away in the ship to Pylos, they say he has not eaten in this way, nor drunk anything, nor looked to his farm, but always in lamentation and mourning sits grieving, and the flesh on his bones is wasting from him.’ (16.137-145)