What happened to Odysseus's crewmen who ate the lotus given them by the Lotus-Eaters?  

1 Answer | Add Yours

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The story of the Lotus-eaters is found in Odysseus's tale to the Phaeacians in book nine. According to Odysseus, Zeus sent a storm and blew them afar for nine days, before they landed on the island of the Lotus-eaters. There the inhabitants gave them some fruit from the lotus plant. When the men ate this fruit, they lost all desire to make it back home.  All they wanted to do was to stay and eat more fruit. They became sleepy and lazy.

They would have stayed, lingered, and probably died there, but Odysseus by force of character dragged the men back to the ships to sail homeward. As the men were going, they were weeping. Odysseus even had to tied them up on the ship, lest they escape and stay. 

In Greek mythology, the "Lotophagi" were a group of people around North Africa who ate from the lotus plant, which put them in a state of perpetual stupor. 

Here is a quote from the book:

They started at once, and went about among the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus-eater without thinking further of their return; nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,947 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question