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The Odyssey Telemachos Quotes


Quote 4

(Telemachos:) '[…] fear also the gods' anger, lest they, astonished by evil actions, turn against you. I supplicate you, by Zeus the Olympian and by Themis who breaks up the assemblies of men and calls them in session: let be, my friends, and leave me alone with my bitter sorrow to waste away; unless my noble father Odysseus at some time in anger did evil to the strong-greaved Achaians, for which angry with me in revenge you do me evil in setting these on me.' (2.66-74)

Themis is the Greek goddess of something like social order—the way things are done, good conduct, divine law. By invoking Themis, Telemachos is reminding the suitors that what they're doing isn't just super annoying and insulting to him—it's an offense against the gods.


Quote 5

(Telemachos:) 'Antinoös, I cannot thrust the mother who bore me, who raised me, out of the house against her will. My father, alive or dead, is elsewhere in the world. It will be hard to pay back Ikarios, if willingly I dismiss my mother. I will suffer some evil from her father, and the spirit will give me more yet, for my mother will call down her furies upon me as she goes out of the house, and I shall have the people's resentment.' (2.130-137)

The Furies are goddesses of vengeance and retribution, which is subtly—but importantly—different from justice. They're particularly invested in crimes against family, so Telemachos would seriously tick them off by kicking his mom out of the house.


Quote 6

(Telemachos:) ‘The court of Zeus must be like this on the inside, such abundance of everything. Wonder takes me as I look on it.’ Menelaos of the fair hair overheard him speaking, and now he spoke to both of them and addressed them in winged words: ‘Dear children, there is no mortal who could rival Zeus, seeing that his mansions are immortal and his possessions.’ (4.74-79)

When Telemachos remarks that Menelaos’s court is godly, Menelaos shows his humility by saying that no mortal man can rival the splendor of the gods.