The Odyssey Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
(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.
(Menelaos:) ‘Three times you walked around the hollow ambush, feeling it, and you called out, naming them by name, to the best of the Danaans, and made your voice sound like the voice of the wife of each of the Argives. Now I myself and the son of Tydeus and great Odysseus were sitting there in the middle of them and we heard you crying aloud, and Diomedes and I started up, both minded to go outside, or else to answer your voice from inside, but Odysseus pulled us back and held us, for all our eagerness.’ (4.277-284)
It’s interesting that Menelaos is able to laugh at this story; remember, it was all for the sake of getting Helen back that the Achaians went to war with the Trojans in the first place. But that’s not all that’s weird—notice how Helen tricks the Achaians (whom she somehow knows are in the horse) by pretending to sound like their wives. Menelaos himself is fooled; does that mean Helen was pretending to be… herself? Weird. Anyway, with master tricksters, it apparently takes one to know one—notice that it’s Odysseus who prevents the other Achaians from letting the cat out of the bag, so to speak.
(Menelaos:) 'Meanwhile she had dived down into the sea's great cavern and brought back the skins of four seals out of the water. All were newly skinned. She was planning a trick on her father. And hollowing out four beds in the sand of the sea, she sat there waiting for us, and we came close up to her. Thereupon she bedded us down in order, and spread a skin over each man. That was a most awful ambush, for the pernicious smell of those seals, bred in the salt water, oppressed us terribly.' (4.435-442)
Here, the daughter of Proteus (named Eidothea) is getting ready to play a trick on her dad. Notice how the women seem to be the one playing all the nasty tricks?