What describes Helen's character in book 4 of the odyssey?I need to do a report on helen's personality in Book four. I noticed that her personality can have multiple interpretations. I need one...

What describes Helen's character in book 4 of the odyssey?

I need to do a report on helen's personality in Book four. I noticed that her personality can have multiple interpretations. I need one quote. Should i use the one where she drugs Telemachus, or another one? Also, what does the drugging Telemachus mean? Is this a nice or a mean gesture?

"Then Zeus's daughter Helen thouht of something else. Into the mixing-bowl from which they drank their wine she slipped a drug, heart's ease, dissolving anger, magic to make us all forget our pains..." (131)--Robert Fagle's translation.

What does that quote mean? Is it nice or mean of her to give them drugs?

Asked on by iglooigloo

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ms-einstein | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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Helen is the first person to recognize Telemachus, who looks like his father. She tells her husband, King Menelaus, that the young man is Odysses' son. Menelaus begins telling everyone what a great man Odysses is, how much Odysses did for him, and how much Menelaus loves Odysses. Soon, everyone in the room is crying.

"A twinging ache of grief rose up in everyone, and Helen of Argos wept, the daughter of Zeus, Telemachus and Menelaus wept, and tears came into the eyes of Nestor's son--" (Graves, 58)

Out of mercy, Helen decides to slip some potion into everyone's wine so they will forget their misery. This drink is one of her special gifts as a daughter of Zeus.

"Whoever dranks this mixture in the wine bowl would be incapable of tears that day--though he should lose mother and father both, or see, with his own eyes, a son or brother mauled by weapons of bronze at his own gate. The opiate of Zeus' daughter bore this uncanny power. It had been supplied her by Polydamna, mistress of Lord Thon, in Egypt, where the rich plantations grow herbs of all kinds, maleficient and healthful; and no one else know medicine as they do." (Graves, 60)

Helen then attempts to bring levity to the weeping men by telling of Odysses' exploits, including one when he dressed up as a beggar. Then Menelaus shares a story until everyone goes to bed.

During the visit, everyone acknowledges that Odysses is special and his absence is haunting. Helen acts out of kindness and compassion.


 

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