The Odyssey Suffering Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Circe is referring here to the monster Skylla, but you can really apply her words to all forms of suffering. Pain, she tells Odysseus, is unavoidable.
(Eurylochos, in Odysseus’s tale:) ‘“Listen to what I say, my companions, though you are suffering evils. All deaths are detestable for wretched mortals, but hunger is the sorriest way to die and encounter fate. Come then, let us cut out the best of Helios’ cattle, and sacrifice them to the immortals who hold wide heaven, and if we ever come back to Ithaka, land of our fathers, presently we will build a rich temple to the Sun God Helios Hyperion, and store it with dedications, many and good. But if, in anger over his high-horned cattle, he wishes to wreck our ship, and the rest of the gods stand by him, I would far rather gulp the waves and lose my life in them once for all, than be pinched to death on this desolate island.”’ (12.340-351)
Eurylochos considers starvation the worst death of all and prefers to commit a crime against heaven than suffer so.
(Athene:) ‘[I will] tell you all the troubles you are destined to suffer in your well-wrought house; but you must, of necessity, endure all, and tell no one out of all the men and the women that you have come back from your wanderings, but you must endure much grief in silence, standing and facing men in their violence.’ (13.306-310)
Again, the message is to endure suffering as it can not be avoided. Of course, Odysseus will just be biding his time until he can deliver some serious (and seemingly excessive) payback.
(Odysseus:) ‘There is nothing worse for mortal men than the vagrant life, but still for the sake of the cursed stomach people endure hard sorrows, when roving and pain and grief befall them.’ (15.343-345)