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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


by Homer

The Odyssey Lies and Deceit Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Book.Line)

Quote #1

[Athene] caught up a powerful spear, edged with sharp bronze, heavy, huge, thick, wherewith she beats down the battalions of fighting men, against whom she of the mighty father is angered, and descended in a flash of speed from the peaks of Olympos, and lighted in the land of Ithaka, at the doors of Odysseus at the threshold of the court, and in her hand was the bronze spear. She was disguised as a friend, leader of the Taphians, Mentes. (1.99-105)

We get why Odysseus needs to disguise himself, but Athene is a goddess—and a powerful one. Why does she have to show up at court in disguise, when she could easily kick out all the suitors single-handedly?

Quote #2

(Telemachos:) ‘Eurymachos, there is no more hope of my father’s homecoming. I believe no messages any more, even should there be one, nor pay attention to any prophecy, those times my mother calls some diviner into the house and asks him questions.’ (1.413-416)

Athene has just told Telemachos that his father is still alive, but the Prince chooses to deceive the suitors to keep him and his mother safe; it seems he fears a riot or coup if the men all knew the truth.

Quote #3

(Antinoös:) And here is another stratagem of her heart's devising. She set up a great loom in her palace, and set to weaving a web of threads long and fine. Then she said to us: "Young men, my suitors now that the great Odysseus has perished, wait, though you are eager to marry me, until I finish this web, so that my weaving will not be useless and wasted. This is a shroud for the hero Laertes, for when the destructive doom of death which lays men low shall take him, lest any Achaian woman in this neighborhood hold it against me that a man of many conquests lies with no sheet to wind him." So she spoke, and the proud heart in us was persuaded. Thereafter in the daytime she would weave at her great loom, but in the night she would have torches set by, and undo it. So for three years she was secret in her design, convincing the Achaians […]. (2.93-106)

Odysseus totally deserves a wife like Penelope. Her position as a married (and possibly) widowed woman may not give her much straightforward agency—she can't exactly pick up a sword and start lopping off heads—she does have her own sort of power: the power of lies.

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