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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

by Homer

Perseverance Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

(Odysseus, in his tale:) '"Dear friends, surely we are not unlearned in evils. This is no greater evil now than it was when the Cyclops had us cooped in his hollow cave by force and violence, but even there, by my courage and counsel and my intelligence, we escaped away. I think that all this will be remembered some day too. Then do as I say, let us all be won over."' (12.208-213)

Odysseus tries to cheer his men up by reminding them that they've persevered through worse—but, we don't know, that doesn't sound like much of a motivational speech to us: "Oh, come on, being stuck in the cave of a homicidal giant isn't that bad. We've been through worse." Are you inspired?

Quote #2

(Eurylochos, in Odysseus's tale:) '"You are a hard man, Odysseus. Your force is greater, your limbs never wear out. You must be made all of iron, when you will not let your companions, worn with hard work and wanting sleep, set foot on this land, where if we did, on the seagirt island we could once more make ready a greedy dinner; but you force us to blunder along just as we are through the running night, driven from the island over the misty face of the water."' (12.279-285)

Eurylochos reminds us that Odysseus is, well, god-like: normal humans can't really endure this much. (Maybe Eurylochos would feel differently if he had Penelope to come home to. Just saying.)

Quote #3

(Odysseus:) 'At this time Charybdis sucked down the sea's salt water, but I reached high in the air above me, to where the tall fig tree grew, and caught hold of it and clung like a bat; there was no place where I could firmly brace my feet, or climb up it, for the roots of it were far from me, and the branches hung out far, big and long branches that overshadowered Charybdis. Inexorably I hung on, waiting for her to vomit the keel and mast back up again. I longed for them, and they came late; at the time when a man leaves the law court, for dinner, after judging the many disputes brought him by litigious young men; that was the time it took the timbers to appear from Charybdis.' (12.431-441)

 Ha. Did anyone us laugh at Homer basically comparing Charybdis to lawyers? Apparently jokes about lawyers go way, way back.

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