The Odyssey Principles Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
(Athene, disguised as Iphthime:) 'As for that other one, I will not tell you the whole story whether he lives or has died. It is bad to babble emptily.' (4.836-837)
Here's another principle that is just as good in the 21st century as it was in ancient Greece: don't run off at the mouth.
(Kalypso:) 'Earth be my witness in this, and the wide heaven above us, and the dripping water of the Styx, which oath is the biggest and most formidable oat among the blessed immortals, that this is no other painful trial I am planning against you […]' (5.184-187)
It's a little hard to take the gods' rules seriously when they don't seem to abide by any recognizable code of conduct. But here, Kalypso sees to be acting on the level: she's promising Odysseus that her help is genuine.
(Odysseus:) 'Three times and four times happy those Danaans were who died then in wide Troy land, bringing favor to the sons of Atreus, as I wish I too had died at that time and met my destiny on the day when the greatest number of Trojans threw their bronze-headed weapons upon me, over the body of perished Achilleus, and I would have had my rites and the Achaians given me glory. Now it is by a dismal death that I must be taken.' (5.306-312)
If you can't manage to live up to your principles, you always have the option of dying by them—that is, dying in battle like a real man.