The Odyssey Perseverance Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Line)
(Odysseus:) 'Of all creatures that breathe and walk on the earth there is nothing more helpless than a man is, of all that the earth fosters; for he thinks that he will never suffer misfortune in future days, while the gods grant him courage, and his knees have spring in them. But when the blessed gods bring sad days upon him, against his will he must suffer it with enduring spirit. For the mind in men upon earth goes according to the fortunes the Father of Gods and Men, day by day, bestows upon them.' (18.130-137)
Odysseus seems to make himself feel better by thinking that he just has to endure what the gods have designed for him. But seriously? Given what we know about the gods, this doesn't seem like a very comforting thought.
‘[…] and out of the palace issued those women who in the past had been going to bed with the suitors, full of cheerful spirits and greeting each other with laughter. But the spirit deep in the heart of Odysseus was stirred by this, and much he pondered in the division of mind and spirit, whether to spring on them and kill each one, or rather to let them lie this one more time with the insolent suitors, for the last and latest time; but the heart was growling within him.’ (20.6-13)
Odysseus is enraged at the betrayal of trust these harlots commit. It’s bad enough that the suitors traitorously enjoy food at Odysseus’s expense, but these women now pleasure them, turning their backs on Odysseus’s kindness and reputation.
(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)
Okay, it's not as heroic as lashing herself to a mast, but sitting and re-weaving the same few inches of shroud day after day must have taken Penelope a lot of dedication.