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Quotes

Quote #1

(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 #2

(Telemachos:) ‘The court of Zeus must be like this on the inside, such abundance of everything. Wonder takes me as I look on it.’ Menelaos of the fair hair overheard him speaking, and now he spoke to both of them and addressed them in winged words: ‘Dear children, there is no mortal who could rival Zeus, seeing that his mansions are immortal and his possessions.’ (4.74-79)

When Telemachos remarks that Menelaos’s court is godly, Menelaos shows his humility by saying that no mortal man can rival the splendor of the gods.

Quote #3

Now Peisistratos son of Nestor spoke up before him: 'Great Menelaos, son of Atreus, leader of the people, this in in truth the son of that man, just as you are saying; but he is modest, and his spirit would be shocked at the thought of coming here and beginning a show of reckless language in front of you, for we both delight in your voice […].' (4.155-160)

Here's Telemachos being humble again—so humble that he can't even bring himself to stand up in front of Menelaos and speak for himself. Humility is one thing, but making someone else speak for you? Not too cool, we think.

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