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Book 7

The Odyssey – Book 7 The Phaeacians (Context)


· Nausicaa arrives at home, while Athene disguises Odysseus in a cloud of sea mist so that nobody can see him as he wanders the city

· As she can’t help pretending to be other people, Athene comes to Odysseus in the form of a child

· Odysseus asks her for directions to the palace, and she leads him there

· Along the way , she tells him all about the land and the ruling family

· The Queen’s name is Arete and the King’s is Alcinous

· Homer reminds us that the Queen is in control, so she’s the one to talk to once Odysseus gets to the palace

· Odysseus falls to the floor at Arete’s feet and hugs her knees

· At that moment, his protective mist cloud disappears and everyone sees him

· Odysseus makes his plea to the stunned crowd

· The King’s oracle nervously clears his throat. All eyes turn to him, and he scolds the King for not showing this beggar some hospitality

· This breaks the ice and everyone rushes to server Odysseus. Alcinous Makes one of the princes give up his seat for Odysseus and declares that tomorrow there will be a feast in honour of his guest

· After much eating and fuss, Alcinous gets around to asking Odysseus if he’s a god

· Odysseus Assures him that he isn’t, but asks for passage home

· The Queen however is busy looking at Odysseus’ clothes, which appear suspiciously similar to the ones she had made for her daughter Nausicaa

· She asks Odysseus politely where he got the clothes

· Odysseus realises that his story better not include the virginal princess taking off her clothes at any point. So he says “it’s a long story”

· However that doesn’t cut it, so he launches into his story, starting with Calypso and ending with Nausicaa, without revealing who he is

· King Alcinous offers up Nausicaa’s hand in marriage

· Odysseus politely refuses, and Alcinous offers passage for him to go home