Quotes in The Odyssey

Quotes Examples in The Odyssey:

Book I 1

"How can I forget Odysseus than whom there is no more capable man on earth, nor more liberal in his offerings to the immortal gods that live in heaven?..."   (Book I)

Zeus has been reminded by Athena that Odysseus is stranded on Calypso's island. Zeus states that he has not forgotten Odysseus, but that Poseidon is still enraged for Odysseus's blinding of Polyphemus the Cyclops. In an effort to get Odysseus home, Zeus agrees that all the gods and goddesses should find a plan to convince Poseidon to cease his vendetta.

"while I tell you a tale in season..."   (Book IV)

Telemachus has stopped at the home of Menelaus and his wife, Helen, the woman whose beauty started the Trojan War. the theme of temptation is prevalent throughout The Odyssey and each character faces temptation in their own way. Helen's story predates The Odyssey, but it's impact on this theme is important. Helen blames her leaving Melelaus on Aphrodite rather than her own love for Paris, thereby placing the blame where it is undeserved. As other characters face temptation, take note of the ways they justify their actions and how they relate their deeds to others.

"Nevertheless, I want to get home, and can think of nothing else..."   (Book V)

Calypso fails to understand why Odysseus refuses her offer to stay with her and become immortal, saying that no mortal woman can match her beauty. Odysseus states his loyalty to his wife and desire to go home are all he wants, even if that means the gods will torment him on his journey. Odysseus's choice shows how he resists Calypso's temptation to choose loyalty and love, which he considers the marks of highest honor. If Odysseus were to succumb to his baser nature, he would give up on his higher purpose as a husband and father.

"Then my men took the wax from their ears and unbound me..."   (Book XII)

While Odysseus ensures that his men stop their ears with wax, he has them bind him to the ship so he can hear the Sirens' call. The Sirens are synonymous with temptation, and in this moment, Odysseus accepts the pull of temptation and his own weakness. However, he also relies on the help and faithfulness of others to protect him. This passage shows that while he perhaps should have simply stopped his ears and avoid the peril, Odysseus has recognized a weakness of his and demonstrated that accepting that weakness and relying on others is a valuable way to overcome temptation.

"You dare devil,’ replied the goddess, ‘you are always wanting to fight somebody or something..."   (Book XII)

Odysseus constantly tests the gods to achieve glory for himself, and these actions have evolved into hubris. He asks Circe if he and his men might fight Scylla, escape Charybdis, and avoid any casualties. Circe chides him for his pride and recklessness, and she is one of the first to open his eyes to his headstrong and adventure-seeking ways. Odysseus soon comes to realize that his actions have worn down the patience of the gods.

"but Odysseus stood firm, and did not budge from the path..."   (Book XVII)

Throughout the tale, Odysseus has been quick to protect his ego and his pride. However, at this point in the tale, he has learned some humility and demonstrated it through patience. Melanthius the goatherd treats him like a beggar and even lashes out at him. Odysseus's natural response is to retaliate, but he checks himself this time, trusting that he will have his revenge eventually.