The Odyssey Suffering Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
(Kalypso:) ‘[…] but if you only knew in your own heart how many hardships you were fated to undergo before getting back to your country, you would stay here with me and be the lord of this household and be an immortal […].’ (5.206-209)
Kalypso has a point – Odysseus intentionally chooses suffering. In this, he parallels Achilleus, the hero of The Iliad, who faces a choice between a long life back home and a short, glorious life fighting at Troy—and chooses Option II. And yet, Odysseus’s suffering is for the sake of getting back home—exactly what Achilleus rejects.
(Odysseus:) "what I want and all my days I pine for is to go back to my house and see my day of homecoming. And if some god batters me far out on the wine-blue water, I will endure it, keeping a stubborn spirit inside me, for already I have suffered much and done much hard work on the waves and in the fighting. So let this adventure follow." (5.219-224)
"I will endure it, keeping a stubborn spirit inside me" isn't exactly motivational-poster-worthy, but Odysseus's attitude is still pretty inspiring. He's determined to get home, and he'll endure anything to make it happen. (Lucky for him, Poseidon is definitely willing to make "anything" happen.)
(Odysseus:) ‘Ah me unhappy, what in the long outcome will befall me? I fear the goddess might have spoken the truth in all ways when she said that on the sea and before I came to my country I would go through hardships; now all this is being accomplished, such clouds are these, with which Zeus is cramming the wide sky and has staggered the sea, and stormblasts of winds from every direction are crowding in. My sheer destruction is certain.’ (5.299-305)
Odysseus despairs at the first storm sent his way by Poseidon after he leaves Kalypso’s island. So much for taking suffering in stride.