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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

by Homer

Loyalty Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #22

(Phemios:) ‘I am at your knees, Odysseus. Respect me, have mercy. You will be sorry in time to come if you kill the singer of songs. I sing to the gods and to human people, and I am taught by myself, but the god has inspired in me the song-ways of every kind. I am such a one as can sing before you as to a god. Then do not be furious to behead me. Telemachos, too, your own dear son, would tell you, as I do, that it was against my will, and with no desire on my part, that I served the suitors here in your house and sang at their feasting. They were too many and too strong, and they forced me to do it.’ So he spoke, and the hallowed prince Telemachos heard him. Quickly then he spoke to his father, who stood close by him: ‘Hold fast. Do not strike this man with the bronze. He is innocent. And let us spare Medon our herald, a man who has always taken care of me when I was a child in your palace […].’ (22.344-358)

Telemachos shows compassion and mercy for the innocent who deserve it. He returns the loyalty of his servants in kind.

Quote #23

She spoke, and still more roused in him the passion for weeping. He wept as he held his lovely wife, whose thoughts were virtuous. And as when the land appears welcome to men who are swimming, after Poseidon has smashed their strong-built ship on the open water, pounding it with the weight of wind and the heavy seas, and only a few escape the gray water landward by swimming, with a thick scurf of salt coated upon them, and gladly they set foot on the shore, escaping the evil; so welcome was her husband to her as she looked upon him, and she could not let him go from the embrace of her white arms. (23.231-240)

Call us hopeless romantics, but we love this simile: Odysseus returns to Penelope like a drowning man returns to shore. (It's a lot sweeter if you ignore the fact that he spent seven years hanging out with a goddess.)

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