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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


by Homer

The Odyssey Suffering Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Book.Line)

Quote #16

This is an uncharacteristic moment of weakness for the usually patient Penelope.

(Penelope:) ‘So I wish that they who have their homes on Olympos would make me vanish, or sweet-haired Artemis strike me, so that I could meet the Odysseus I long for, even under the hateful earth, and not have to please the mind of an inferior husband. Yet the evil is endurable, when one cries through the days, with heart constantly troubled, yet still is taken by sleep in the nights; for sleep is oblivion of all things, both good and evil, when it has shrouded the eyelids. But now the god has sent the evil dreams thronging upon me. For on this very night there was one who lay by me, like him as he was when he went with the army, so that my own heart was happy. I thought it was no dream, but a waking vision.’ (20.79-90)

Quote #17

Penelope suffers so painfully for the loss of Odysseus that even her dreams are haunted by his absence.

He spoke, and the black cloud of sorrow closed on Laertes. In both hands he caught up the grimy dust and poured it over his face and grizzled head, groaning incessantly. The spirit rose up in Odysseus, and now in his nostrils there was a shock of bitter force as he looked on his father. He sprang to him and embraced and kissed and then said to him: ‘Father, I am he, the man you ask about.’ (24.315-321)

Quote #18

(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 is actually working with a little logic here: he knows that they're not supposed to eat Helios's cattle, and he knows that he's going to get slammed for it—but if there's a choice between dying of hungry and drowning, he'd rather drown. Not all suffering is created equal.

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