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In Book 6 of "The Odyssey", why doesn’t Nausicaa run away when Odysseus...

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billan10 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 2, 2008 at 6:23 AM via web

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In Book 6 of "The Odyssey", why doesn’t Nausicaa run away when Odysseus comes out of the woods?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 2, 2008 at 6:58 AM (Answer #1)

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Nausicaa does not run away when Odysseus comes out of the woods because "Athena put courage into her heart and took away all fear from her". 

Odysseus is a frightful sight when he emerges out of the bush and encounters the women doing their laundry by the water.  He looks "like some lion of the wilderness that stalks about exulting in his strength...his eyes glare as he prowls in quest of oxen, or sheep, or deer, for he is famished, and will dare break into even a well-fenced homestead".  Odysseus is clothed only with "a bough covered with thick leaves to hide his nakedness", and is "unkempt" and "begrimed with salt water".  The young women flee in all directions when he approaches them at their work, fearful as much of his raw male sexuality as of the physical threat he appears to represent.  Nausicaa, fortified by the strength of the goddess Athena, is the only one who stands firm and faces the menacing-looking figure of Odysseus.

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