The Odyssey Book 2: lines 103-128

Penelope and the Suitors by John William Water...

Penelope and the Suitors by John William Waterhouse (1912). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here Antinous‘ speech to his fellow suitors continues. He goes into greater detail about how Penelope deceived him and his fellow suitors. One should notice as well the use of the imperfect tense as in the first of these lines. The deception lasted some considerable time. As the audience, we are expected to be laughing at the suitors at this point, especially as Antinous whines about being fooled in a most undignified manner. This is the man who wants to act as Penelope’s husband, someone she is supposed to respect and admire, seriously?

Cretan thyme

Cretan thyme

This humorous passage is a good point to highlight the word-play regularly going on throughout the Odyssey. For example, the literal meaning of the word θυμῷ in context is in [my] heart, but it also in principle could mean a number of things suggestive of silly imagery such as in the Cretan thyme. The heart was in antiquity regarded as the seat of knowledge, of reason and of wisdom, but the suitors are portrayed as lacking either knowledge or wisdom. Hence the use of a less common word for heart which suggests little purle flowers rather than a strong mind.

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