The Odyssey Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
(Alkinoös:) 'Or could it then have been some companion, a brave man knowing thoughts gracious toward you, since one who is your companion, and has thoughts honorable toward you, is of no less degree than a brother?' (8.585-586)
Alkinoös wants to know why Odysseus is crying while listening to his bard sing about Troy, and assumes that someone really close to his has died. But notice how he assumes a friend can be just as close as a brother. Does that seem true in the world of the Odyssey? Or are blood-bonds always deeper than companion-bonds?
(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.
(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.