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How do Odysseus' speeches with Calypso show his cleverness?book 5

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ditzyxx22 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 30, 2008 at 9:15 AM via web

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How do Odysseus' speeches with Calypso show his cleverness?

book 5

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junebug614 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 30, 2008 at 9:44 PM (Answer #1)

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Though she is a goddess, Calypso has strong feelings for the mortal, Odysseus.  Once she hears from Olympus that she must allow Odyssues to leave the island, she offers him immortality if she stays with him and also brings up the issue that his wife Penelope is mortal and will not compare to her [Calypso's] beauty.  Odysseus responds with: 

Goddess and queen, do not be angry with me. I myself know
that all you say is true and that circumspect Penelope
can never match the impression you make for beauty and stature.
She is mortal after all, and you are immortal and ageless.
But even so, what I want and all my days I pine for
is to go back to my house and see my day of homecoming.
And if some god batters me far out on the wine-blue water,
I will endure it, keeping a stubborn spirit inside me,
for already I have suffered much and done much hard work
on the waves and in the fighting. So let this adventure follow.
V. 215–224

Odysseus recognizes that he needs Calypso's help to get off the island, so instead of arguing that he truly loves Penelope for who she is and not because of her looks, he agrees that Penelope will never be as beautiful as Calypso.  He continues saying that he'd just like to get home, convicing Calypso that he's a only a weary spirit desperate for his homeland, that it has nothing to do with Calypso's inability to please him.  Eventually, Calypso feels sorry enough for Odysseus that she gives him what he needs to make a boat and leave the island. 

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