The Odyssey

Books 19-20

Main Theme

I think the theme of these chapters was don't laugh at somebody who isn't as well off as you. That could very well be the reason for your death.


(Telemachos): "But if you are determined to murder me with the sharp bronze, then that would be my wish also, since it would be far better than to have to go on watching forever these shameful activities, guests being battered about, or to see you rudely mishandling the serving all about the beautiful palace." Telemachos is very ashamed of how they are behaving towards their guests and would rather die than watch them tear down his kingdom.

(Penelope): "Human beings live for only a short time, and when a man is harsh himself, and his mind knows harsh thoughts, all men pray that suffering will befall him hereafter while he lives; and when he is dead all men make fun of him. But when a man is blamless himself, and his thoughts are blameless, the friends he has entertained carry his fame widely to all mankind, and many are they who call him excellent" Penelope is saying that if you do good to people your name will be spread around as a great person worldwide.

(See'er): "Poor wrestches, what evil has come on you? Your head and faces and the knees underneath you are shrouded in night and darkness; a sound of wailing hase broken out, your cheeck are covered with tears, and the walls bleed, and the fine supporting pillars. All the forecourt is huddled with gohsts, the yard is full of them as they flock down to the underworld and the darkness. The sun has perished out of the sky, and a foul mist has come over." It's saying that the suitors will soon face their fate of being killed and going to hell. There will be the feeling of death all around on the night of their deaths.