Alcinous and arete relationship problems

alcinous and arete relationship problems

Start studying Relationships in the Odyssey. Arete. Daughter of Rhexenor, Granddaughter of Nausithous, niece of Alcinous. Daughter of Arete and Alcinous. On his way to the palace of Alcinous, the king of the Phaeacians, Odysseus is stopped She also advises him to direct his plea for help to Arete, the wise and strong queen with his visitor that he offers Odysseus his daughter's hand in marriage. Odysseus easily wins the discus toss and then challenges the Phaeacian. twofold interpretation is the fact that Odysseus' problems definitely are not at an . The Phaeacians lhave a second relationship witlh Poseidon in addition to the slhips: he is Alcinous' grandfather and Arete's great-grandfather. What is more.

In representations of women spinning, the right hand is extended to spin wool drawn from a distaff, which is held at a higher level by the left hand; the pose is seen in this example: Perpetual fire is the essential element here, and from a Greek standpoint perpetual fire could be provided by either a hearth or a lamp. The hearth probably became a lamp when the aegis and gorgoneion were added to the image itself, perhaps as early as the early sixth century.

In front of them Pallas Athena held a golden lamp and made a beautiful light. Right then Telemachus quickly addressed his father: Surely some god is within, one of those inhabiting the wide sky. When Odysseus finishes his appeal to Arete and the rest of the Phaeacians, he sits in the ashes next to the hearth and the fire Odyssey 7.

So speaking he sat down by the hearth in the ashes near the fire. The scene of a suppliant seated in the ashes was presumably a familiar one in the temple of Athena Polias. But when Alcinous, with sacred power, heard this, he took the hand of wise Odysseus, with inventive mind, and raised him from the hearth and sat him on the shining chair. The goddess herself in her temple would of course apparently do nothing during such an act, and that is what Arete does, apparently nothing.

It is precisely by doing nothing that she becomes the goddess in this tableau. Being compared to a god is not unique to Arete Alcinous himself is compared to an immortal when he sits next to her and drinks wine, Odyssey 6. There are fifty of them and their tasks include grinding corn, weaving, and spinning Odyssey 7. In his palace are fifty servant women, some of whom grind yellow grain on millstones, and others weave fabric and spin wool, seated like the leaves of a tall poplar; liquid oil runs from the close-woven cloth.

The passage continues, saying that just as the Phaeacian men excel at seafaring, the women excel at weaving, for Athena has given them, beyond others, knowledge of beautiful crafts and good wits Odyssey 7. As much as the Phaeacian men are skillful beyond all others at driving a swift ship on the sea, so the women are skillful at weaving; for Athena granted them beyond others understanding of beautiful works and good wits.

But it is really Arete whom they emulate in this domain, as is indicated by the two descriptions of her spinning by firelight, in which the maidservants are very much her extension. In the end, of course, this comes back to Athena herself if Arete plays the part of Athena Polias. Athena herself, however, is not incidental to this story; she manages the episode from beginning to end.

Twice more Athena directs events from behind the scenes: Nausicaa does not want him to go all the way into town with her, fearing the comments of the townspeople.

Part 3. Athens

Then at once he prayed to the daughter of great Zeus: Grant that I come dear and pitied to the Phaeacians. Odysseus does not know what Athena is doing for him even now, because she does not appear to him openly. But this is only part of the story. Then at once he prayed to the daughter of great Zeus. So much-enduring shining Odysseus prayed there. This is a complex situation, and it is carefully managed so that the two figures, Athena and Arete, do not interfere with each other.

Indeed Athena, as soon as she has told Odysseus about Arete, removes herself from the scene by flying to Athens, leaving center stage to the figure that she has just introduced. Thus it is not only respect for Poseidon that keeps Athena from appearing openly to Odysseus. The hidden identity of Arete simply would not work if it had to compete with the presence of Athena in her own persona.

Nausicaa has played her part and attention now shifts to Arete. I have focused first on Arete, arguing that she represents Athena as a mother goddess; but Athena is also of course a virgin goddess, and both sides of her seem to be represented by the Phaeacians.

When Odysseus reaches shore in Phaeacia and falls asleep, Athena contrives to have Nausicaa find him there and bring him part way to town. In the dream in which she appears to Nausicaa she tells the princess that she must go and do her washing in the morning for her wedding is near: Athena then leaves Scheria and goes to Olympus, and just as her second departure identifies her as Athena the city goddess of Athens, her first departure identifies her as Athena the Olympian.

At once beautiful-throned Dawn came, who awakened her, beautiful-robed Nausicaa. There is another parallel between Arete and Nausicaa themselves, and it is, dramatically, the most striking. The silence that follows his appeal raises the level of tension higher still. Only one other moment in the Phaeacian episode compares with this in intensity, namely when Odysseus supplicates Nausicaa.

The stakes are no less high, for Odysseus has just burst nearly naked onto a group of maidens not long from their baths in the river. He went like a lion bred in the mountains, trusting in its might, which goes forth beaten by rain and wind, and the eyes in it burn; and it goes among the cattle or sheep, or after wild deer; and its stomach commands it, after it has made trial of the sheep, even to enter the strong house; so Odysseus was about to mix with the beautiful-haired maidens, naked as he was; for need had come.

The threat that Odysseus poses is of course clear, given his wild appearance. The other maidens all flee, but Nausicaa holds her ground, for Athena gives her courage Odyssey 6. Disfigured by the salt sea he was a frightful sight for them to see, and they fled in all directions to the jutting banks.

Only the daughter of Alcinous stayed; for Athena put courage in her heart and took fear from her limbs. She stood face to face holding her ground. Nausicaa most takes on her hidden identity as Athena the virgin warrior when she holds her ground and Odysseus wisely decides to keep his distance and supplicate her from afar.

The parallel with Arete is again complete, for it is at the moment of supplication that each of these figures most closely realizes a different aspect of the goddess Athena, one the mother goddess, the other the virgin goddess. How do such overt comparisons fit with a hidden identity as Athena, the virgin warrior goddess?

alcinous and arete relationship problems

An overt comparison, moreover, means that one thing is not another, that two things are similar but remain distinct.

How is Nausicaa similar to Artemis? She is a virgin, as we know from the start about this Phaeacian princess. But the comparison with Artemis suggests that she is also more than a virgin princess, that she is also, in terms of her hidden identity, a virgin goddess. I do not think that this point is undermined by the fact that Athena herself gives Nausicaa the courage to stand her ground. Next Odysseus speculates that if she is a goddess she must be Artemis because of her tall stature Odyssey 6.

I grasp your knees, my lady; tell me, are you a god or a mortal? If you are one of the gods who inhabit the wide sky, I think that you most resemble Artemis, daughter of great Zeus, in beauty and stature and build.

alcinous and arete relationship problems

Nausicaa was already compared with Artemis because of her tall stature before Odysseus awoke and burst upon the scene, as Nausicaa danced and played with her companions Odyssey 6. Like arrow-shooting Artemis, who goes forth on the mountains, either on Taygetos or soaring Erymanthos, delighting in boars and swift deer; and field-haunting Nymphs, daughters of aegis-holder Zeus, play with her; and Leto rejoices in her heart; and above all the others she holds her head and brow and is easy to recognize, but all are beautiful; so the untamed maiden stood out among her servants.

Odysseus then takes us a step back from this hidden identity by asking whether she is a goddess or a mortal, and by comparing her with Artemis if she is a goddess. But if you are one of mortals who live on earth, your father and revered mother are thrice-blest, and your brothers are thrice-blest; surely their heart is always warmed with gladness because of you when they see such a blossoming shoot entering the dance.

But he is most blessed of all in his heart, whoever, laden with wedding gifts, leads you home. So that something of the full impact remains in the end a final grace note is added when Odysseus compares Nausicaa to the sacred palm tree of Apollo on Delos Odyssey 6.

For I have never yet seen such a mortal with my eyes, either man or woman; awe holds me as I look at you. Both are given a farewell by Odysseus before he leaves for home. The farewell to Nausicaa comes earlier, and it, on the other hand, reminds us that she too has played an aspect of the goddess. In order to start it up again the Phaeacians must intervene and encourage him to continue. The burden is here shifted from Nestor, who did not bring Odysseus home, to the Phaeacians, who along with the gods will.

The interruption dramatizes this shift. Arete, the queen, is the first to speak. So far she has been rather reserved about Odysseus, but here, for the first time, she expresses complete admiration for him, and she tells the other Phaeacians not to stint on their gifts to him Odyssey White-armed Arete spoke to them first: He is my guest, but each of you has a share in the honor.

So do not rush to send him away, and do not cut short your gifts when he has such need; for many possessions lie in your halls by the will of the gods. Dear people, not at all beside the point or short of expectation does our wise queen speak; be persuaded by her. But on Alcinous here both word and deed depend. This will be my word, exactly so, if I live and rule over the oar-loving Phaeacians. But let the stranger be patient, though he longs for his return, and wait until tomorrow, until I make good his whole gift.

His voyage will be up to all the men, but most of all to me; for I hold the power in the land. We now see that that responsibility has been shifted to Alcinous in particular, who accepts it: To dramatize this shift Alcinous gets Odysseus to restart his story by asking him if he saw any of his companions from Troy in the underworld Odyssey Odysseus, in answering him, resumes his story, which in due course will take him back out of the underworld and up to the present.

Alcinous has taken over for Nestor symbolically in the underworld, and as Odysseus moves forward from this point he now has Alcinous on his side. Just as Nestor is the son of the founder of his city, so too is Alcinous. We learn this at the very outset of the Phaeacian episode, when Athena enters the Phaeacian city to appear in a dream to Nausicaa.

alcinous and arete relationship problems

The Phaeacians are here introduced as having formerly lived near the Cyclopes, who were stronger than they and brought them harm. Hence godlike Nausithoos moved his people to Scheria, their present home, and built a city for them. Nausithoos was now dead, and Alcinous ruled in his place Odyssey 6. They once lived in wide Hypereia near the Cyclopes, overbearing men who harmed them, for they were greater in strength.

Uprooting his people godlike Nausithoos led them away and settled them in Scheria, far from laboring men, and drove a wall around the city and built dwellings, and made temples of the gods and apportioned fields.

But he had already succumbed to death and gone to Hades, and Alcinoos, knowing counsels from the gods, now ruled. In this passage Nausithoos is called the founder of Scheria, and his role as founder is emphasized by a detailed description of his act: Neleus too was now dead, and Nestor ruled in his place Odyssey 3.

But when early-born rosy-fingered dawn appeared, the Gerenian horseman Nestor rose from bed, and went out and sat on polished stones that were in front of his high doors, white and glistening with oil, on which formerly Neleus would sit, a counselor equal to the gods; but he had already succumbed to death and gone to Hades, and Gerenian Nestor, guardian of the Achaeans, now sat on them holding his scepter. The repeated line, used first of Neleus, then of Nausithoos, occurs nowhere else.

The parallel in diction strongly reinforces the parallel in content, and it begins to appear that the parallel in content is deliberate—that we are meant to be reminded of Neleus and Nestor when we first hear about Nausithoos and Alcinous. On her first entrance she appeared to Nausicaa in a dream. Now, on her second entrance, she disguises herself as a young maiden, and she encounters Odysseus himself in order to lead him to the Phaeacian palace.

Odysseus has already learned from Nausicaa that her parents are Alcinous and Arete, the king and queen. Athena, who like Nausicaa stresses the need to make a favorable impression on the queen, goes on to give Odysseus a genealogy of the royal family, which is the same for the king and queen, since they are not only husband and wife, but also uncle and niece.

Nausithoos, Athena says, was the son of Poseidon and the youngest daughter of a king of the giants named Eurymedon. This otherwise unknown figure destroyed both himself and his reckless people, but his daughter, whose name was Periboia, was apparently spared, for she bore Nausithoos to Poseidon, and Nausithoos became the king of the Phaeacians Odyssey 7. But he destroyed his reckless people and was himself destroyed.

Poseidon made love with her and fathered a child, great-hearted Nausithoos, who ruled among the Phaeacians. How Eurymedon destroyed himself and his people is not told, but the answer is implied in their designation as overbearing giants. For giants in Greek myth notoriously fought against the Olympian gods and were destroyed by them. We are doubtless meant to understand that Eurymedon and his people likewise rivaled the gods and were destroyed by them.

As we are explicitly told in the first passage of the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11, the god Poseidon made love to Tyro, the mother of Neleus, just as he did to Periboia, the mother of Nausithoos.

The only one of his race who was spared destruction, furthermore, was his daughter Tyro, who mated with Poseidon and gave birth to the city founder Neleus. Periboia, who gave birth to the city founder Nausithoos, likewise seems to be the sole survivor of her race.

The Status of Arete in the Phaeacian Episode of the Odyssey | Helène Whittaker -

To show that like Zeus he wielded thunder and lightning, he dragged bronze cauldrons behind his chariot to imitate thunder and threw torches into the sky to imitate lightning. We do not have the full text of the Hesiodic treatment of the myth, but a papyrus fragment Hesiod fr.

More fully preserved by this fragment is the reaction of Zeus, who destroys the entire people of Salmoneus because of his transgression Hesiod fr. The father of men and gods was offended, and he thundered [harshly] from the starry sky, [] ; he shook the whole earth.

Then we learn about Tyro, who was spared the fate of the rest of her people because she tried to stop her father from committing his act of hubris Hesiod fr.

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In the case of the Phaeacian progenitor Eurymedon his hubris has been made explicit so that his correspondence to Salmoneus may be perceived. In the case of Salmoneus we do not need to hear about his crime because it is already well known.

For it is the correspondence between these two that is central to the story of the Odyssey. We have so far dealt only with the first part of the Phaeacian genealogy that Athena tells to Odysseus in Book 7.

What she tells him next concerns Alcinous. As we have seen, Odyssey 11 does not call Nestor a twin whose warrior brother Periklymenos died. These are things that we have had to reconstruct painstakingly, and that we can now say are implied by the structure of the catalogue in Odyssey 11, but that the surface of the text deliberately disguises.

alcinous and arete relationship problems

In the case of Alcinous, on the other hand, what is implied for Nestor is made explicit: Apollo shot him when he was just a bridegroom, and he left just a single daughter, Arete, whom Alcinous married Odyssey 7. Nausithoos fathered Rhexenor and Alcinous. The one silver-bowed Apollo shot while he was a bridegroom Without any sons, leaving only a daughter in his hall, Arete, whom Alcinous made his wife.

Queen Arete, who is fully as important among the Phaeacians as king Alcinous is, has her own story to be uncovered, and we will devote full attention to it later. But her story has nothing to do with Nestor, and we must simply leave her out of account for now. In itself Rhexenor is otherwise an epithet in the Homeric poems, and it is used of only one hero, namely Achilles himself there are four occurrences in the Iliad and one in the Odyssey.

The most significant of these details and the least overt correspondence is the one that we considered last, the warrior brother who died young. It is also worth noting how what is not essential to the purpose of the Phaeacian genealogy is left out. Only Nausithoos, the father, is mentioned in telling of the birth of Rhexenor and Alcinous. It is as true of Alcinous, whose correspondence to Nestor is the point of all the other correspondences in the genealogy.

I am suggesting that the Phaeacians as a whole were created by the Odyssey, to establish the correspondence to Nestor that we have seen, and that they had no independent existence apart from this. Alcinous refers to this in Book 7, when he promises Odysseus that on the next day he will be carried home fast asleep on a Phaeacian ship no matter how far off he lives, even if it is farther than Euboea, where the Phaeacians once took Rhadamanthys Odyssey 7.