In book 6 1-273, the confrontation with Nausicaa and Odysseus, what do we learn about each one from their meeting and how it concludes?

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jilllessa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is our first view of Nausicca and we learn that she has courage because she is the only one who does not scream and run at Odysseus' appearance.  Athena gives or enhances her courage, but it seems that Athene chose her to meet Odysseus because she know that Nausicca was the right one to give Odysseus what he needed.  We also learn that Nausicca is gracious and discerning:  she listens to Odysseus despite his appearance and she realizes that he is "not a bad man or a fool."  Thirdly she is generous and understands the rules of hospitality, giving Odysseus everything he needs to be clean and comfortable.  Finally we learn that she is wise and discreet as she tells him how to approach her family in order to get what he needs without hurting her won reputation.

From Odysseus' behavior we learn that he is thoughtful.  The common act of a suppliant is to embrace the knees of the person he is approaching for help, but Odysseus realizes this may be offensive to Nausicca.  He is appreciative of her help, but he is also somewhat modest and prefers to wash in private. Finally we see that he is reverent and thankful to Athena for her aid as he prays his thanks to her.