Character study of Odysseus
In book 6 Odysseus is on Schercie. Athene appeared to Nausicaa in a dream which resulted in her and her maids doing washing in a nearby lake to where Odysseus was sleeping. As the girls were playing ball they threw the ball in the wrong direction coincidently which made a large splash causing the girls to scream and wake Odysseus. He appears as a very grotty dirty and naked man, possibly imposing a threat to the girls so they run away, however Nausicaa stands her ground and hears him out. Odysseus approaches the situation from an articulate and respectful point of view by giving her a brief overview of what has happened to him. Then after feeling compassion over Odysseus she directs him back to her fathers castle where he will be helped home and onwards on his journey.
Some of Odysseus key characteristics are brought out in this chapter through dialogue and also through his response to certain situations. We see his modest side when he refuses the offer to be washed by Naussica’s slaves and insists on doing it himself as he hasn’t washed in days and is feeling a little grotty. ‘I am not going to take my bath with you looking on’ Not only does this show his modesty but it also shows his respect for women and the fact that he is aware that he sprung on the women and caught them by surprise and also due to the girls initial reaction he may have felt even more embarrassed and wanted time to review his current situation by washing, however we also see his gratitude at being helped as he compliments the ladies by saying ‘..elegant ladies’ this may also show us that Odysseus is aware that these women are important in society by Naussica’s articulate way of speaking and addressing the situation and also her awareness of xenia. Not only this, but, the fact she was also accompanied by two slaves just to wash clothes empathises my point. Odysseus could be trying to sweeten her up in order to be given a lot of help and start off well in this.