What does the this passage from The Odyssey tell the reader? It is from Book 8 and starts around line 40.‘Leader and Counsellors of the Phaeacians, listen while I speak as my feelings prompt me....

What does the this passage from The Odyssey tell the reader? It is from Book 8 and starts around line 40.

‘Leader and Counsellors of the Phaeacians, listen while I speak as my feelings prompt me. This stranger, whose name I do not know, has come to my house in his travels from east or west. He asks for his passage home, and seeks our confirmation. Let us further his going, as with others in the past. For no one who comes to my house waits here long, grieving for lack of help. So, let us run a black ship down to the glittering waves for her maiden voyage, and choose fifty-two young men from the town, who have proved themselves before. And when they have duly lashed the oars in place, come ashore quickly to my house and ready a feast: I will provide enough for all. These are my orders for the crew, and you sceptered Princes come on now to the fair palace, and let us entertain the stranger there: let no one refuse. And summon, Demodocus, the divine bard, for a god has given him supreme powers of song, to give delight, in whatever form his spirit prompts him to sing.’

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This passage is spoken by Alcinous, the King of Phaeacia and grandson of Poseidon. The passage tells the reader that Alcinous is a kind and gracious ruler who goes out of his way to make strangers welcome, and it outlines his desire as to how the visitor Odysseus should be treated.

To paraphrase, Alcinous is addressing the "Leaders and Counsellors of the Phaeacians," and he is speaking from the heart. He tells them that the stranger Odysseus has come to his house and requested passage home. Alcinous suggests that they grant Odysseus's wish and help him, as has been their custom towards strangers in the past. He wants the Leaders and Counsellors to send a new black ship down to the water, and have fifty-two proven men from the town prepare it for sailing. When the task is done, everyone should come to Alcinous's house for a feast, where Odysseus shall be entertained. These are Alcinous's orders, and all must obey; in addition, the divine entertainer Demodocus shall be summoned to "give delight" with the power of his song.

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The Odyssey

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