The Odyssey – my favourite lines

What are your three favorite lines from the Odyssey —and why?


1) a line you like because it reveals so much about the world of The Odyssey —the many turns, the echoing story, the ideas hidden inside it.

“This is absurd, that mortals blame the gods! They say we cause their suffering, but they themselves increase it by their folly.” Zeus backs up this claim by reminding Athena when Aegisthus killed Agamemnon without the gods interfering.
A reoccurring theme in the Odyssey is the contrast between free will and divine intervention. At times, it may seem that the gods have complete control over everyone’s fate. This idea is further conveyed by men and women being afraid to go against the gods because they are worried about the consequences the gods might bring them. Yet, this quote shows that a person’s fate depends on not only the gods, but the person’s actions as well. For instance, when Poseidon stops Odysseus from reaching home, the god’s actions can be seen as a natural disaster, and now it depends on Odysseus to try again to return home. Another instance is where the gods enhance a person’s pre-existing qualities and personalities, such as when Athena enhances Odysseus’ bravery and strength. 

Pg.295 (Achilles): “I would prefer to be a workman hired by a poor man on a peasant farm, than rule as king of all the dead”. After dying and having time to reflect and let go of his war-mentality, Achilles realizes that honour and glory aren’t everything! This is especially shocking because he was the greatest of warriors who cared so much about glory and fame.  The idea of going from a war mentality to a  peace mentality is a reoccurring theme throughout the book. 

2) a line you like because it seems quite lovely —a beautiful expression, for whatever that’s worth (I think it’s worth a lot)  & 3) a line that is satisfying on a pure storytelling or image-making level

“Soon Dawn appeared and touched the sky with roses.”

Although there are several, beautiful renditions of the rosy-fingered dawn Wilson has created, this is one of my favourties. It creates the image in my mind of the colors of the rose subtly appearing in the sky when dawn approaches. This is because instead of using fingers or hands like most of the other renditions, the word touch makes it seem more subtle and therefore delicate and fine. Dawn also symbolizes a fresh and new beginning, which is lovely in itself.

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