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Book 2 Notes from The Odyssey

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The Odyssey Book 2

Telemachus wakes at dawn and has criers call the citizens to assembly. He takes his father's position among them. Lord Aigyptios, an old man is the first to speak among them. He asks who called the assembly, since it is only the station of kings to do so. Telemachus stands and says "No need to wonder any more, Sir,/ who called this session. The distress is mine." Book 2, lines 42-43

He appeals to the assembly that the suitors should be expelled because it is not right for them to hang around. He gets more emotional during the speech and throws his staff to the ground. Antinous answers him harshly and tells the assembly that the blame should fall on Penelope for fooling them repeatedly. He uses the unwoven loom as an example of her trickery. He demands that Telemachus either dismiss her from his house or give her to marry because "she makes a name for herself" Book 2, line 133. Telemachus replies that he will not turn his mother out and he repeats his plea to Zeus. Zeus sends a pair of eagles through the sky. Halitherses speaks to interpret the omen and says it means that Odysseus will not be gone for long. He reminds the assembly that he foretold that Odysseus would be gone for nineteen years. Eurymachus has a different interpretation:

"Old man go tell the omens for your children
at home, and try to keep them out of trouble.
I am more fit to interpret this than you are.
Bird life aplenty is found in the sunny air,
not all of it is significant. As for Odysseus,
he perished far from home. You should have perished with him-"
Book 2, lines 188-193

Eurymachus repeats the request that Penelope be given in marriage or turned out of the house. He says that the suitors deserve to be fed because they have spent so much time there waiting for her to make a decision. Telemachus tells everyone that he is done with the conversation and is going to Pylos and Sparta to search out news of his father. Mentor stands next to Telemachus and announces to the assembly that it is obvious that none of these men deserve to be king because "it is so clear that no one here remembers/ how like a gentle father Odysseus ruled you" Book 2, lines 244-5. He is upset by the fact that the community dishonors Odysseus' memory by allowing the suitors to behave in this way. A man speaks up to end the debate and Telemachus goes to the shore and makes a prayer for his journey. Athena comes to him in the form of Mentor and makes him bolder. She, in the form of mentor, tells him that he will secure a ship and sailors because there are plenty of ships and sailors in Ithaca. Telemachus recognizes the divine speech and goes home reassured. Antinous comes to him laughing and tells him to forget his anger and feast with the suitors. Telemachus says he cannot feast with men who have committed such wrong. Antinous mocks him and his wish for revenge and another suitor joins in telling him that he will get lost at sea like his father. Telemachus goes to the storeroom and looks over the goods drawing out what he will need for the journey. He calls Eurykleia and asks her to have the goods prepared to be taken and she is upset by the command. She asks him who but such an idea in his head and reminds him that his father went missing in a strange place. Telemachus tells her that a god told him to do this and he makes her swear not to tell his mother.

Meanwhile Athena is gathering sailors. She wakes Telemachus in the middle of the night and tells him to leave. She leads him to his crew and his ship and they prepare the ship to sail. After a libation they set off and sail into the dawn.

Topic Tracking: Disguise and Deceit 2
Topic Tracking: Guests and Hosts 1

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