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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


by Homer

The Odyssey Phemios Quotes


Quote 1

(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.