In the Land of the Dead, how does Odysseus react to each of the three ghosts (Elpenor, Anticlea, and Tiresias)? Also, how are some of his actions or characteristics different here than earlier in...

In the Land of the Dead, how does Odysseus react to each of the three ghosts (Elpenor, Anticlea, and Tiresias)?

Also, how are some of his actions or characteristics different here than earlier in the story?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Elpenor was the crew member who had fallen off the roof of Circe's house and died.  Odysseus is surprised that he got to the land of the dead before the ship did.  Odysseus promises to go burn Elpenor's body and leave a monument to him.

Anticlea is Odysseus's mother.  He is so happy to see her, but he does not want to let her come near until he has talked to Teiresias.  Afterwards, he tries to hug her, but he cannot.

Odysseus does not really react to Teiresias's ghost.  He talks to him pretty normally.

thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Elpenor was a member of Odysseus crew who fell from the roof of Circe’s house. He was drunk and decided to sleep on the roof where it was cool. However, when he heard the commotion in the house by his comrades, he jumped up and tumbled off the roof to his death. Odysseus felt sorry for Elpenor when they met in the land of the dead (house of hades). The meeting moved Odysseus to tears. Elpenor made a request for his burial rites which had not been performed. Odysseus promised to honor the request.

I was very sorry for him, and cried when I saw him

Odysseus then met the ghost of Anticlea, his dead mother. This encounter was deeply emotional for Odysseus because he left his mother alive as he headed for Troy. Odysseus wept when he met his mother’s ghost.

I had left her alive when I set out for Troy and was moved to tears when I saw her, but even so, for all my sorrow I would not let her come near the blood till I had asked my questions of Teiresias.

Odysseus then encountered Teiresias. The encounter was not emotional, and Odysseus observed it with a sense of duty.

Odysseus was emotionally expressive during his meeting with his mother's and Elpenor's ghosts in the house of Hades. In the rest of the story, Odysseus, was not as expressive as seen during the encounter with the ghosts.

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