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The Odyssey Odysseus Quotes


Quote 25

(Odysseus:) "[…] but I was planning so that things would come out the best way, and trying to find some release from death, for my companions and myself too, combining all my resource and treacheries, as with life at stake, for the great evil was very close to us." (9.420-432)

Odysseus and his men are in a bad place in Polyphemos's cave, but he's still going to get them (or most of them) out of it, with the classic "hiding-under-the-ram's-belly" trick. Man, that's a good one.


Quote 26

(Odysseus:) "So she spoke to them, and the rest gave voice, and called her and at once she opened the shining doors, and came out, and invited them in, and all in their innocence entered; only Eurylochos waited outside, for he suspected treachery. She brought them inside and seated them on chairs and benches, and mixed them a potion, with barley and cheese and pale honey added to Pramneian wine, but put into the mixture malignant drugs, to make them forgetful of their own country. When she had given them this and they had drunk it down, next thing she struck them with her wand and drove them into her pig pens, and they took on the look of pigs, with the heads and voices and bristles of pigs, but the minds within them stayed as they had been before.' (10.229-241)

Here, Odysseus is telling the Phaiakians about Circe's trick. We don't like to blame the victim, but we have to say: given the way that strange women usually behave in this tale, eating her food is kind of a boneheaded move.


Quote 27

(Odysseus:) ‘So I will tell you the way of it, how it seems best to me. First, all go and wash, and put your tunics upon you, and tell the women in the palace to choose out their clothing. Then let the inspired singer take his clear-sounding lyre, and give us the lead for festive dance, so that anyone who is outside, some one of the neighbors, or a person going along the street, who hears us, will think we are having a wedding. Let no rumor go abroad in the town that the suitors have been murdered, until such time as we can make our way out to our estate with its many trees, and once there see what profitable plan the Olympian shows us.’ (23.130-140)

Odysseus wants to trick all the Ithakans into thinking all the noise of the slaughter was the racket from a wedding celebration. How ironic, considering that was the very thing they wanted to avoid earlier.