The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In book 14 of The Odyssey, why doesn't Odysseus reveal himself to Eumaeus when the swineherd gives ample evidence of his loyalty?

Expert Answers info

Deshawn Dibbert eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write15 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Odysseus​ does not dare shed his disguise because it would risk compromising the very reason for assuming the disguise in the first place, which was indicated in the preceding book: ​Odysseus, after having returned to his native Ithaca from a long period away,​ consults with Athena about the measures to be taken to destroy the suitors, those who deplete his bountiful realm. In order to get revenge, he conceals his return from them; to do so more effectively, Athena changes his person into the figure of an old beggar.​ He is then instructed to stay the night with Eumaeus to collect information on the situation at his palace and with the suitors. Further, Odysseus​ would not dare disobey Athena, who instructed him in Book 13 to remain incognito. ​As she explains:

And secret walk unknown to mortal eyes.
For this, my hand shall wither every grace,

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 469 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial