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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

by Homer

Principles Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

(Mentor:) ‘Now it is not so much the proud suitors I resent for doing their violent acts by their minds’ evil devising; for they lay their hands on the line when violently they eat up the house of Odysseus, who, they say to themselves, will not come back; but now I hold it against you other people, how you all sit there in silence, and never with an assault of words try to check the suitors, though they are so few, and you so many.’ (2.235-241)

Mentor points out the cowardice (and hence dishonor) of the majority, who stay silent out of fear and respect for the suitors. They passively dishonor Odysseus by not standing up for the proper treatment of his family and household.

Quote #5

(Peisistratos:) 'My guest, make your prayer now to the lord Poseidon, for his is the festival you have come to on your arrival; but when you have poured to him and prayed, according to custom, then give this man also a cup of the sweet wine, so that he too can pour, for I think he also will make his prayer to the immortals. All men need the gods. But this one is a younger man than you, and of the same age as I am. This is why I am first giving you the goblet.' (3.43-50)

Nestor's son welcomes Telemachos and Athene (disguised as Mentor), and explains why he's giving her the goblet first: Telemachos is younger. Apparently "respect your elders" is a principle that never goes out of style.

Quote #6

(Menelaos:) ‘[…] and sitting well in order we dashed the oars in the gray sea, back to where Egypt is, the sky-fallen river, and there I stranded my ships, and there I rendered complete hecatombs. But when I had ended the anger of the gods, who are everlasting, I piled a mound for Agamemnon, so that his memory might never die. I did this, and set sail, and the immortals gave me a wind, so brought me back to my own dear country with all speed.’ (4.580-587)

Proper burial rites are a big deal in this culture, as we see over and over in the Odyssey. A man is only honored in death when he is properly respected by those still living.

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