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Odysseus seems to agree with his men that hunger is the worst kind of suffering.
(Eumaios:) ‘All too much with enduring heart she does wait for him there in your own palace, and always with her the wretched nights and the days also waste her away with weeping.’ (16.37-39)
Penelope’s grieving is implicitly compared to that of Odysseus.
(Eumaios:) ‘Shall I on the same errand go with the news to wretched Laertes, who while he so greatly grieved for Odysseus yet would look after his farm and with the thralls in his household would eat and drink, whenever the spirit was urgent with him; but now, since you went away in the ship to Pylos, they say he has not eaten in this way, nor drunk anything, nor looked to his farm, but always in lamentation and mourning sits grieving, and the flesh on his bones is wasting from him.’ (16.137-145)
Laertes mental anguish has rendered him immobile and ineffective.
(Penelope:) ‘How I wish chaste Artemis would give me a death so soft, and now, so I would not go on in my heart grieving all my life, and longing for love of a husband excellent in every virtue, since he stood out among the Achaians.’ (18.202-205)