In the Odyssey, how does Eumaeus make a contribution as an introspector to the development of the return of the king.(Odysseus)My professor just gave me this question, and I am really confused...

In the Odyssey, how does Eumaeus make a contribution as an introspector to the development of the return of the king.(Odysseus)

My professor just gave me this question, and I am really confused about what an introspector is. Please help!

Expert Answers
cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Introspector used in this question suggests that your professor is asking how Eumaeus serves to help Odysseus. When Odysseus returns in disguise to the swineherd's cottage, he is pleased to discover that the old man continues to be loyal to his king although he believes Odysseus will never return. At this point in the story, Odysseus faces huge odds in his quest because he is one man facing over one hundred suitors. Possibly he has some doubts about his success. Yes, he has Athena on his side, but he needs some humans to help him, too. Eumaeus' loyalty as well as his hospitality encourages Odysseus in his quest to resume his throne. Finding out that Eumaeus is still loyal sparks further interest in him. Notice how many times Odysseus tests the old man. Introspection means "looking within"; Odysseus seems to be asking himself if he can count on Eumaeus. Every time Eumaeus is tested or told a false story, his response encourages his master.

In my view, your professor regards Eumaeus as a means by which (a tool, an introspector) Odysseus can satisfy his uncertainty. He clearly has some internal response to Eumaeus' comments and actions seen in his insertions of "And you, O my swineherd," remarks that often puzzle the reader. These apparent asides reveal Odysseus' delight that Eumaeus is still loyal and loves his king. Thus, Odysseus' first encounter with an Ithacan citizen is very positive. His doubts seem to be allayed.

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The Odyssey

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