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The Odyssey Helen Quotes


Quote 1

(Helen:) ‘Shall I be wrong, or am I speaking the truth? My heart tells me to speak, for I think I never saw such a likeness, neither in man nor woman, and wonder takes me as I look on him, as this man has a likeness to the son of great-hearted Odysseus, Telemachos, who was left behind in the house, a young child by that man when, for the sake of shameless me, the Achaians went beneath Troy, their hearts intent upon reckless warfare.’ (4.140-146)

Telemachos has the handsome appearance of his renowned father, but more importantly has inherited Odysseus’s character.

Helen > Telemachos

Quote 2

(Helen:) ‘I too give you this gift, dear child: something to remember from Helen’s hands, for your wife to wear at the lovely occasion of your marriage. Until that time let it lie away in your palace, in your dear mother’s keeping […]. (15.125-128)

Helen shows her graciousness as a hostess by considering Telemachos’s future and family when giving her gifts.


Quote 3

(Helen:) ‘He flagellated himself with degrading strokes, then threw on a worthless sheet about his shoulders. He looked like a servant. So he crept into the wide-wayed city of the men he was fighting, disguising himself in the likeness of somebody else, a beggar, one who was unlike himself beside the ships of the Achaians, but in his likeness crept into the Trojan’s city, and they all were taken in.’ (4.244-250)

Odysseus has built his reputation as a national hero from his ability to deceive.