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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

by Homer

The Odyssey Nestor Quotes Page 2

Quote #4

(Nestor:) 'If only gray-eyed Athene would deign to love you, as in those days she used so to take care of glorious Odysseus in the Trojan country, where we Achaians suffered miseries; for I never saw the gods showing such open affection as Pallas Athene, the way she stood beside him, openly; if she would deign to love you as she did him, and care for you in her heart, then some of those people might well forget about marrying.' Then the thoughtful Telemachos said to him in answer: 'Old sir, I think that what you have said will not be accomplished. What you mean is too big. It bewilders me. That which I hope for could never happen to me, not even if the gods so willed it.' (3.218-288)

Telemachos is definitely being humble when he tells Nestor that he's pretty sure the gods aren't ever going to love him the way they loved Odysseus—but is it good that he's being humble? Or should the son of Odysseus take a little more pride in himself?

Quote #5

(Nestor:) ‘May Zeus and all the other immortals beside forfend that you, in my domain, should go on back to your fast ship as from some man altogether poor and without clothing, who has not any abundance of blankets and rugs in his household for his guests, or for himself to sleep in soft comfort. But I do have abundance of fine rugs and blankets. No, no, in my house the dear son of Odysseus shall not have to go to sleep on the deck of a ship, as long as I am alive, and my sons after me are left in my palace to entertain our guests, whoever comes to my household.’ (3.346-355)

Nestor shows great hospitality not only because of the Greek tradition, but because Telemachos is the son of his good friend.

Quote #6

(Nestor:) ‘Act quickly now, dear children, and do me this favor, so that I may propitiate first of all the gods, Athene, who came plainly to me at our happy feasting in the god’s honor. Come then, let one man go to the field for a cow, so that she may come with all speed, and let one of the oxherds be driving her, and one go down to the black ship of great-hearted Telemachos, and bring back all his companions, leaving only two beside her, and yet another go tell the worker in gold Laerkes to come, so that he can cover the cow’s horns with gold. You others stay here all together in a group but tell the serving women who are in the house to prepare a glorious dinner, and set chairs and firewood in readiness, and fetch bright water.’ (3.418-429)

Feasting and sacrifice appear to be an intricate part of Greek hospitality, reminding us that the tradition has much to do with piety and reverence toward the gods.

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