Homer’s Versicolored Fabric: The Evocative Power of Ancient Greek Epic Word-Making

  Bonifazi, Anna. 2012. Homer's Versicolored Fabric: The Evocative Power of Ancient Greek Epic Word-making. Hellenic Studies Series 50. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Bonifazi.Homers_Versicolored_Fabric.2012.

Chapter 3. Odysseus Who?: Polyphonic Marks of Identity (Odyssey 15–24)

The interlacing of Odysseus κεῖνος and Odysseus αὐτός in book fourteen can be seen as the result of different and overlapping perceptions of the Ithacan hero. The sense of his physical absence and of his desired presence—which is cognitively marked in the words of various characters throughout the first four books of the poem—coexists with expressions of the hero’s epiphanic appearance and with references to his true identity. By analyzing the multiple levels of the communicative exchange between Eumaeus and Odysseus in Odyssey 14 in terms of layering, we have been able to show the interlacing of perceptions of the hero. The idea of layering, which I have borrowed from H. H. Clark (1996), implies that the same textual surface may fit different communicative settings; that is, different participants, roles, places, times, features, and actions may coexist in a single performance. Any performance of Odyssey 14—throughout centuries of dissemination of the poem in time and space—potentially relays considerably different significances from any other performance, in accord with the different communicative layers of the text. The paralinguistic and the extralinguistic components of a performance play a crucial role in this complexity of meanings—an awareness of which, for modern readers, is always only partially recoverable, and with great difficulty. The distinctive marks of Homeric layering have been understood to be such features as facial expression, tone of voice and timbre, hand gestures, metrical underlines, and musical “licenses.” However, it is also possible to detect evidence of layering in the text as it appears on the printed page, unanimated and unperformed. Such signals may be word order—in particular, playful adjacent juxtapositions of words—ad hoc elliptical expressions, the occurrence of ambiguous deictic markers, special uses of demonstrative pronouns, and peculiar lexical choices.

The observation that written texts show a multiplicity and stratification of voices is not a novelty in literary criticism. “Plurality of consciousnesses” is {127|128}  what Bakhtin, for example, saw in the poetics of Dostoevsky’s writing, [1] which subsequently led him to theorize “polyphony”—and the similar concepts of “dialogic interrelations,” “heteroglossia,” and “carnival”—as structural elements of novels. Bakhtin primarily thinks of macro-narrative features, such as inserted genres, characters’ speeches, and authorial speeches, as they coalesce into a single literary work, but he also identifies the dialectic of “unification and disunification” in single utterances: “every concrete utterance of a speaking subject serves as a point where centrifugal as well as centripetal forces are brought to bear.” [2] My textual analyses are meant to highlight some of the centripetal forces of our Homeric texts, in a synchronic perspective. [3] A later scholar who applies the Bakhtinian notion of “polyphony” to single utterances is Ducrot. According to Ducrot, capturing the presence of more voices is like seeing in a seemingly monologic utterance a crystallized dialogue (“dans un énoncé apparemment monologique un dialogue cristallisé”). [4] A concrete example—presented by Ducrot himself—may help in framing the concept. In the first act of Racine’s Britannicus (1699), Agrippine shares with Albine the following comment to about her son Nero: “… He [Nero] knows / (for now their love can be scarcely ignored) / that Junia by Britannicus is worshipped, / and this same Nero, who is led by virtue, / has Junia seized in the middle of the night. / What does he wish? Is it hate, or is it love / inspires him? Does he only seek the pleasure / of blackening them: or rather is it merely / that his malignity on them would punish / the support I’ve lent them?” [5] Nero has ordered the abduction of Junie, the beloved of his half-brother Britannicus. Within the sentence “and this same Nero … has Junia seized in the middle of the night,” Agrippine embeds the relative clause “who is led by virtue” (literally “whom virtue leads”; the original text reads: “et ce même Néron, que la vertu conduit, fait enlever Junie au milieu de la nuit.” [6] ). Ducrot observes that the relative “que la vertu conduit” is unlikely to express Agrippine’s view of Nero’s behavior; rather, it expresses—and maybe also ridicules—Albine’s point of view. [7] The relative clause is, therefore, expressing polyphony. [8] My application of the concept of polyphony {128|129} to Homer does not involve the dialogic interrelations between digressions and the main narrative storyline, or between some characters’ speech style and the primary narrator’s speaking style. Rather, my application concerns polyphony through single sentences and single words. The Homeric uses of κεῖνος and of αὐτός with Odysseus as the referent consciously exploit polyphony in such a way that, first, they shape the network of multiple perceptions of the main hero throughout the Odyssey’s 24 books, and, second, they transcend the interplay of dramatic irony.

The graph on the next page shows the numeric distribution of Odysseus κεῖνος (light grey columns) and Odysseus αὐτός (dark grey columns) throughout the poem. I will first describe the trend of each pronoun, then I will comment on the overall trend of both.

Odysseus as κεῖνος is especially prevalent in books 1–4. However, as I already suggested in chapter 2, the visual and social/emotional implications of the utterances of κεῖνος from book one to book fourteen, even as they make reference to each other, are charged with new values as the plot unfolds. Odysseus in book fourteen is still the one whose absence and supposed death is lamented, but he also becomes the one who physically appears to Eumaeus’ eyes, within the logic of layering. Thus, Odysseus is referred to as κεῖνος not only when he is absent but also when he is present “on the stage.” Not by chance, after book fourteen he is κεῖνος only in book seventeen, once he “publicly” comes into view in his own palace. To the extent that the instances of κεῖνος uttered by Odysseus himself cross-refer to the previous instances of κεῖνος uttered by his people and may imply his own epiphany to a local worshipper, one could say that κεῖνος is dialogic: it is a mark of dialogic interrelations or it is a mark of polyphony. In a later section of this chapter, I will show that this polyphony that characterizes Odysseus κεῖνος is effective also in books xvii to xxiv, in accordance with the interplay between the desire—of some characters—to keep a sense of distance towards Odysseus (which will emphasize the striking surprise left for the suitors) and the recognition of his appearance by some other characters through the actions he carries on in his own palace. {129|130}


Table 2. Summary of the occurrences of κεῖνος and αὐτός having Odysseus as the referent in the Odyssey.

Finally, I submit to the reader that there is a third polyphonic effect of the two pronouns, which is produced as they occur together in the narration of the same episode, as well as within the macro structure, as they dialectically mark Odysseus throughout the Odyssey. In my view, this third polyphony becomes clear in book fourteen and is carried on until the end of the poem. The dialogic interrelations of the pronouns are enhanced by the fact that the primary speaking ‘I’ sometimes has the same character refer to Odysseus as both κεῖνος and αὐτός, as I will show. However, the overall balance between the two pronouns has to include some major pragmatic and syntactic asymmetries; first, with a very few exceptions, κεῖνος is never uttered by the primary speaking ‘I’, while αὐτός is uttered by both; second, κεῖνος exclusively agrees with third-person markers (“he/she/it κεῖνος/η/ο”), whereas αὐτός may also agree with first- and second-person markers (“I, you, he/she/it αὐτός/ή/ό”). However, some basic correspondences may still be outlined between their uses and the “literary substance” (as I termed it at the beginning of chapter 1) of Odysseus. The Odyssean uses of the two pronouns reflect visual, cognitive, and psychological aspects concerning the processing of Odysseus’ absence vs. his presence, appearance-without-recognition vs. appearance with recognition, and even the perceptions of Odysseus himself about all of this. Several voices and several roles seem to contribute to this “complex unity of differences,” to use Bakhtin’s words.

Some basic facts seem to characterize the distribution of both markers according to the graph (see Table 2). Odysseus αὐτός occurs frequently when {131|132} he first appears “on the stage” (from book five on) and when he himself becomes the primary speaking ‘I’ (books 8–12), whereas most of the occurrences of Odysseus κεῖνος fall within books 1–4, as has been already noted. Book fourteen displays an extraordinary balance between Odysseus κεῖνος and Odysseus αὐτός, on which I focused my analysis in chapter 2. The subsequent trend in the second half of the poem is a decreasing frequency of Odysseus κεῖνος and an increasing frequency of Odysseus αὐτός. Book twenty-four, finally, represents on a smaller scale what holds for book fourteen—namely, equal occurrences of both pronouns.

Is it also possible to detect the mechanism of Homeric layering in the second half of the poem and, if so, which layers might be identified? This is a question that further explores the polyphony of Odysseus κεῖνος and Odysseus αὐτός. I believe that layering is a feature potentially underlying the whole poem, although it is difficult to determine which specific layers might be involved in each section of the narrative. In this respect, further work regarding the cult practices of Odyssean heroes might well shed light on verbal details and on symbols contained in our text. However, even without these findings, it might still repay the effort to read the text as if more layers were alluded to. This is a potentially helpful interpretive exercise, as it might allow us to sense uses of words that might otherwise remain unnoticed. Specifically, we might investigate word order, ambiguous demonstrative markers, different kinds of ellipses, and peculiar lexical choices; in turn, we might learn more about what Homeric poetry has to say about social roles, communicative intentions, and conscious utterances that are simultaneously significant inside and outside the plot. Our findings might, thus, embrace multiple communicative settings without denying the “official” one—which is, of course, the main storyline. Such a program of study would, I believe, give more sense (if not complete sense) to linguistic features that do not seem to fit (or seem even to disturb) the storyline, so that they might be seen as signs of linguistic—and performative—bravura, rather than as hard-to-explain choices.

Finally, I hope that my analysis of the polyphony underlying the linguistic and poetic treatment of Odysseus κεῖνος and of Odysseus αὐτός will present further reasons to consider the Odyssey as Aristotle did: as a “recognition throughout” (ἀναγνώρισις γὰρ διόλου, Poetics 1459b).

Accounts of homeric αὐτός

In classical Greek, αὐτός is said to put emphasis on the person or object it refers to, particularly in the nominative case; this understanding of αὐτός rests on notions of sameness and selfness. Different syntactic positions of αὐτός, whether {132|133} attributive or predicative, may indicate whether the αὐτός-subject is “the same” or “x-self,” respectively. Complementarily to its emphatic function, αὐτός often occurs with other personal or demonstrative pronouns. Apart from the nominative case, the pronoun αὐτός is simply said to equal the regular third-person pronoun (he/she/it). [10] The overall value that Kühner and Gerth assign to αὐτός is between a personal and a demonstrative pronoun. [11] Humbert includes αὐτός among the demonstrative elements; it expresses the notion of “identity.” [12] In a series of articles that appeared between 1984 and 1990, three French scholars considered the semantic essence of αὐτός. Sadoulet focuses on the relation of identity underlying the third-person pronominal uses and concludes that they reflect a meta-linguistic intention: namely, to give prominence to the utterance topic. [13] Taillardat unifies the meanings relating to selfness (“ipséité”) and those relating to sameness (“identité”) by pointing out the common semantic nucleus “one,” which both isolation (“oneself” and “alone”) and unity (“the same”) stem from. Finally, by placing the reference to the essence of persons/objects alongside ideas of exclusion (“only x-self”) and of enrichment (“even x-self”), Biraud sees in αὐτός an overall marker of individualization (“déterminant d’individualisation”), which connotes the boundaries and the fullness of the designated referent at the same time. [14] Before introducing my account of αὐτός in Homeric poetry, I remark that Hermann in his Dissertatio de pronomine αὐτός (1827) anticipates the basic discourse function of αὐτός. As a pronoun, Hermann says, αὐτός refers to something about which thought is going to be continued or repeated; its main trait is to show the prominence and distinctiveness of that something. [15] {133|134}

As far as Homeric αὐτός is concerned, the scholarly literature points out several aspects of its semantic range and its possible meanings. [16] The general analysis of Monro is as following: “The pronoun αὐτός is purely anaphoric: its proper use seems to be to emphasise an object as the one that has been mentioned or implied,—the very one, that and no other.” [17] Thus, a sense of isolation and of aloneness are underscored. [18] Elsewhere, the expression of opposition with something or somebody else is remarked upon, together with the reinforcement of the identity of something or somebody. [19] Finally, at the syntactic level, the unsystematic use of αὐτός as a reflexive is commented upon. [20] Smyth’s summary of the Homeric uses of αὐτός is: “In Homer [it] denotes the principal person or thing, in opposition to what is subordinate, and is intensive by contrast.” [21] A very detailed set of insights into the different usages of αὐτός in Homer is found in a monograph by Wagnon (1880), titled Le pronom d’identité et la formule du réfléchi dans Homère, dans les poètes tragiques et chez les doriens. Most probably, Hermann’s Dissertatio partially informed Wagnon’s view; likewise, later grammarians and lexicographers profited from both Hermann’s and Wagnon’s remarks. Beyond the references to sameness and to reflexive uses, Wagnon highlights the sense of contrast or prominence with respect to other objects (usually a plurality of objects) and lists in detail the entities that constitute this plurality: groups of warriors, or horses, or the rest of the family. Other specific meanings concern the physical body and the corpse, the nucleus of an object as distinct from its ornaments, the possession of an object, the identity of someone in contrast to his/her current actions, and, finally, someone’s full identity (“identité complète”). Here, I record Wagnon’s account of the basic function of αὐτός, which I take as a marker for the content of the next sections:

The present account of homeric αὐτός

From the point of view of the discourse functions and of the pragmatic-cognitive interface of the meanings of αὐτός, all the remarks that I have just cited {134|135} about Homeric uses turn out to be quite relevant. Moreover, I have taken into my account all the variations regarding meanings that have been noted. What I will add is basically a pragmatic and cognitive framework that embraces all of these uses and that explains why they relate to each other.

In chapter 1, I introduced Cornish’s discourse view, according to which null anaphors or unaccented pronouns correspond to referents that are already “active,” whereas accented or demonstrative pronouns relate to referents that are less accessible. Also, demonstrative pronouns may be used when something relevant about the referent is going to be said. Within the cognitive framework of anaphora processing, some advantages motivate the choice of different third-person pronouns in narrative texts. As far as Homeric κεῖνος is concerned, the advantages consist in re-activating the mental representation of a referent that was not in focus in the previous sentence(s) and in making it a conspicuous element of what comes next, in terms of a visual and/or social/emotional relationship established by the speaker with it. As far as Homeric αὐτός is concerned, some questions arise: does αὐτός parallel κεῖνος as an accented or demonstrative pronoun in Cornish’s framework? If the answer is yes, in what sense might it signal that something conspicuous is going to be said about the referent? Unlike κεῖνος, the referents of αὐτός are usually in focus immediately before its use. What, then, are the specific cognitive advantages of processing αὐτός? In my view, standard accounts of αὐτός prevent us from a comprehensive consideration of its uses for two reasons. First, there is an underestimation of the demonstrative quality of αὐτός, which is linked to the exclusion of αὐτός from the traditional triadic set of demonstratives ὅδε, οὗτος, ἐκεῖνος (which are supposed to cover the “I,” “you,” and “he/she/it” spheres of interest, respectively). Second, pre-classical Greek uses of αὐτός tend to be absorbed into classical Greek uses: the equation to a regular third-person pronoun and the negation of any reflexive implications tend to be default assumptions about αὐτός. Yet, Homeric poetry shows evidence that these default assumptions are misleading, and that the demonstrative quality of αὐτός needs to be considered. The general reading I propose for the Homeric uses of αὐτός is articulated in the following points.

Second, the functions of αὐτός as intensifier and as demonstrative of identity articulate the overall mark of selfness that characterizes αὐτός, whereas the focus-keeping function corresponds to the mark of sameness. I remind the reader that unlike Latin, which has ipse to convey selfness and idem to convey sameness (cf. in English “x-self” vs. “same”), ancient Greek has αὐτός for both. The so-called attributive position of αὐτός occurs in Homer very rarely, as the use of the definite article accompanying it is rare too; in contrast, the so-called predicative position is common and it may concern either a noun phrase or a verbal phrase. I will refer to the former as adnominal use and to the latter as adverbial use. The pragmatic and cognitive implications I am going to illustrate are detectable without distinctions in αὐτός adnominal, in αὐτός pronominal, and in αὐτός with other pronouns (most often personal pronouns).

My fourth and summary point, which also implicates the ultimate reason for choosing any demonstrative pronoun, is that the communicative intentions that underlie the choice of αὐτός do not concern the objective position of the referent in the text (anaphorically) or the extralinguistic context (deictically); rather, they concern different aspects of the speaker’s way of pointing at the referent and his/her mental attitude toward it (the established relationship with it and the involvement in recalling it). Moreover, multiple aspects of the speaker’s mental attitude are usually in play; more than one communicative intention is expressed. {136|137}

I am going to provide the reader with evidence of all of these characteristics by first considering Homeric passages that exclude Odysseus as the referent. The next pages will present a necessary background for the understanding of all the poetic values of Odysseus αὐτός throughout the Odyssey.

αὐτός as intensifier: the center-periphery idea

I borrow from scholars working on linguistic typology the definition of αὐτός as intensifier. “Intensifier” is a broad label that is used to embrace different expressions used in different languages (not only Indo-European) to reinforce ideas such as selfness, identity, and reflexivity, such as, for example, x-self in English, selbst in German, stesso in Italian, sam in Russian, zisin and zibun in Japanese. [25] Latin ipse and ancient Greek αὐτός are said to be intensifiers as well. [26] König (1998 and 2001) analyzes the syntactic and semantic properties of intensifiers. In brief, when an intensifier adjoins a noun phrase (adnominal intensifier), that noun-phrase represents the focus associated with the intensifier. An example in English: in “The President himself will attend the ceremony,” the noun phrase “the President” represents the focus associated with “himself.” Conversely, when an intensifier adjoins a verbal phrase (adverbial intensifier), its contribution can be paraphrased by “alone” (exclusive use) or by “also” (inclusive use). I cite a couple of examples in English after König. In “John did not repair the car himself. Somebody else did it,” “himself” is an adverbial intensifier placed at the right of the verbal phrase, and it suggests an exclusive use: “John did not do the job alone, without help; somebody else did it.” In contrast, “I have failed the driving test twice myself,” “myself” is used inclusively, in order to convey, “that happened to me too.” [27] König summarizes the meaning of both adnominal and adverbial intensifiers by saying that they “evoke alternatives to the referent of their focus”; and “they structure the set of referents under consideration (referent of the focus + set of alternatives) in terms of center and periphery.” If we consider the cited sentence “The president himself will attend the ceremony,” it is, indeed, easy to imagine several people attending that ceremony as the surrounding alternatives among which the President is the prominent figure, that is, the focus. König’s graphical representation of this looks like Saturn surrounded by a ring. [28] {137|138}


Singling out by isolating and by centering

τῶν οἱ ἀδελφεὸς ἦρχε βοὴν ἀγαθὸς Μενέλαος
ἑξήκοντα νεῶν· ἀπάτερθε δὲ θωρήσσοντο·
ἐν δ’ αὐτὸς κίεν ᾗσι προθυμίῃσι πεποιθὼς
ὀτρύνων πόλεμον δέ· …

Iliad 2.586–589; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

The leader of these was his brother Menelaus, good at the war cry,
with sixty ships. They were stationed apart.
And he was moving among them, confident in his courage,
while urging them to battle … {138|139}

In this passage, αὐτός is clearly linked to a set of alternatives (ships and warriors); it structures the reference to the leader Menelaus as the center of attention. To use König’s terms, the referent of the focus is represented as high in rank, while subordinated entities or the entourage make up the related periphery. [
30] Social prominence matches visual prominence. The αὐτός-subject is isolated by way of contrast. At the visual level, αὐτός effects a shift, so that the mind’s eye of each recipient as well as of the performer zooms in on the αὐτός-subject. [31] In another passage, αὐτός in the genitive case allows the recipients to zoom in on Achilles as the center, while the Trojans around him represent the periphery:

Ἑστήκει δ’ ὃ γέρων Πρίαμος θείου ἐπὶ πύργου,
ἐς δ’ ἐνόησ’ Ἀχιλῆα πελώριον· αὐτὰρ ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ
Τρῶες ἄφαρ κλονέοντο πεφυζότες …

Iliad 21.526–528; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

I claim that all the commonly acknowledged nuances of the meaning of αὐτός as it relates to ideas of separation, isolation, and aloneness (which recalls Taillardat’s view about the isolating—or exclusive—component of the semantic nucleus “one”) can be derived from the idea of center-periphery, where the distinctive feature is that the one at the center acts as no one else upon the periphery does. In the following passage, a single character says that he “himself” (precisely he himself, and no one else) will carry out a certain action:

ἀλλ’ ὑμεῖς μὲν πάντες ὕδωρ καὶ γαῖα γένοισθε
ἥμενοι αὖθι ἕκαστοι ἀκήριοι ἀκλεὲς αὔτως·
τῷδε δ’ ἐγὼν αὐτὸς θωρήξομαι …

Iliad 7.99–101; Hector to the Trojans

Well, may all of you become water and earth,
each of you sitting here spiritless, inglorious, nothing more than that.
As for me, I myself will put on the breastplate and go against this one.

The strong emphasis “I myself” conveys that the alternatives referred to (the companions, in this case) are supposed to behave differently, as the previous words make clear. Related cases are those in which αὐτός implies “autonomously,” “without any help” (“by x-self”), [
37] and those implying the pure substance of a person without ornaments or without other side elements (the latter working as the periphery). [38] I quote a representative instance of the latter: {140|141}

εἰ μὴ ἐγώ σε λαβὼν ἀπὸ μὲν φίλα εἵματα δύσω,
χλαῖνάν τ’ ἠδὲ χιτῶνα, τά τ’ αἰδῶ ἀμφικαλύπτει,
αὐτὸν δὲ κλαίοντα θοὰς ἐπὶ νῆας ἀφήσω

Iliad 2.261–263; Odysseus to Thersites

if I do not take you and strip off your clothes,
the cloak and the tunic, which shelter your nakedness,
and send you, bare and crying, back to the quick ships

Odysseus is using αὐτός as an intensifier that apparently refers to the body of Thersites, who wears no clothes at all.

The latter point allows me to introduce an intriguing feature regarding Homeric αὐτός—namely, the semantic reference to corpses or to dead heroes. [39] A famous instance is Iliad I 4, where αὐτούς signifies the corpses of the Achaean warriors. I argue that in a number of cases αὐτός marks a center-periphery system built upon the image of a killed (sometimes just injured) hero, around which a plurality of individuals act. [40] A representative example is the first Iliadic occurrence (out of eight total) of αὐτός referring to Patroclus’ corpse. [41] A few lines after the narration of the moment of Patroclus’ death, the primary speaking ‘I’ says:

Οὐδ’ ἔλαθ’ Ἀτρέος υἱὸν ἀρηΐφιλον Μενέλαον
Πάτροκλος Τρώεσσι δαμεὶς ἐν δηϊοτῆτι.
βῆ δὲ διὰ προμάχων κεκορυθμένος αἴθοπι χαλκῷ,
ἀμφὶ δ’ ἄρ’ αὐτῷ βαῖν’ ὥς τις περὶ πόρτακι μήτηρ

Iliad 17.1–4; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

He had not been overlooked by Atreus’ son, Menelaus, dear to Ares,
he, Patroclus, who had been defeated by the Trojans in the conflict. {141|142}
He [Menelaus] stalked through the champions, with the helmet of flaming bronze.
And—here we are—he stood astride over his corpse, as a mother with her calf

I connect these uses of αὐτός to the fact that in book seventeen Patroclus’ corpse becomes not only a visual point of reference for many actions, which literally take place around it, but it also becomes an important theme. This holds for Patroclus’ corpse, in particular, and for the heroes’ corpses, in general, around which several Iliadic actions take place. From the cited passage, it is also clear that αὐτός conveys empathy, as the corpse is, at that moment, the emotional point of reference for Menelaus and, indirectly, for the audience as well. [
42] The particle ἄρα preceding αὐτός stresses the visual spotlight-effect on such a meaningful gesture. In comparison with Patroclus’ dead body, the other champions Menelaus strides by—that is, the periphery—lose relevance. Nagy argues that αὐτός at Odyssey 11.602 (the referent being Heracles who abides on Olympus) refers to the regenerated body of the hero after death. [43] I would further suggest that when αὐτός stands for the corpse of a hero on the battlefield, it refers superficially to the naked corpse (stripped of arms), and, beneath the surface, to an essence, to a nucleus that prefigures something larger than life. [44] If so, the αὐτός-subject would be not only the center of attention but also a superior being—higher in rank—to the characters around him and to the participants in the epic narration as well.

In addition to interpreting αὐτός as referring to corpses, which are pivotal entities from the visual and the thematic point of view, I will also introduce a further relevant strategy for singling out, namely, centering. Especially by means of locative expressions, non-nominative forms of αὐτός serve to recall characters who are going to be the center of attention. In the following passage, the primary speaking ‘I’ visually reenacts Andromache’s appearance in front of Hector prior to the moving farewell between the two:

ἥ οἱ ἔπειτ’ ἤντησ’, ἅμα δ’ ἀμφίπολος κίεν αὐτῇ
παῖδ’ ἐπὶ κόλπῳ ἔχουσ’ ἀταλάφρονα, νήπιον αὔτως

Iliad 6.399–400; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

She [Andromache] met him then, and a servant came along with her
carrying the son in her bosom, an innocent child, just a little boy.

Here, the pronoun αὐτός conveys something more sophisticated than “her.” If we are cognitively focused on keeping track of the characters involved scene by scene, we now deal with four individuals who are co-present: Hector (οἱ, 399), Andromache (null subject of ἤντησ’, 399), the female attendant (ἀμφίπολος, 399), and little Astyanax (παῖδ’, 400). However, the main topic (or macrotopic) of this entire narrative section is Andromache, who is about to deliver her speech to her husband. Her physical presence is put at the center of the visual field. What the primary speaking ‘I’ does here is to spotlight Andromache in order to let the recipients keep their “eyes” on her, regardless of who is around her and regardless of the fact that the female attendant is the grammatical subject of the sentence—she is even the one who carries the baby in the bosom. Hector, the attendant, and the baby are on the periphery, while Andromache is the thematic, the visual, and—I add—the emotional center.

Thematic and visual prominence through centering seems to be reserved to objects as well. Here, I report the famous description of Achilles with his lyre in Iliad 9.

… ταφὼν δ’ ἀνόρουσεν Ἀχιλλεὺς
αὐτῇ σὺν φόρμιγγι λιπὼν ἕδος ἔνθα θάασσεν.

Iliad 9.193–194; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

… Achilles, amazed, leapt up
with the lyre itself, leaving the place where he was sitting. {143|144}

What does αὐτῇ σὺν φόρμιγγι mean? Griffin considers this use of αὐτός as “complete with” and paraphrases “[Achilles] still holding the lyre.” However, in this case as well as in the other two similar cases cited by Griffin, [
47] the function of αὐτός is to focus on the mentioned object itself, rather than on the whole picture. My pragmatic and cognitive interpretation is that αὐτός in αὐτῇ σὺν φόρμιγγι resumes the thematic relevance of the lyre, to which the primary speaking ‘I’ devotes much attention in the evoked memory and in the visual description (see 186–189), even as it gives visual prominence to the object. [48] It is as if, for a brief moment, the mind’s eye of the recipient is momentarily driven to zoom in on the instrument. [49] The cognitive function of adnominal αὐτός does not seem to differ from pronominal αὐτός. In Iliad 18.481, two uses of pronominal αὐτός zoom in on Achilles’ shield, right at the beginning of its articulated description. Centering often pertains to non-nominative forms of αὐτός, especially locative expressions such as ἄχγ’ αὐτοῦ, ἐπ’ αὐτῷ, ἀμφ’ αὐτόν, which mostly refer to individuals. [50]

In this subsection, I have begun to introduce the idea of empathy and of emotional nearness through the use of αὐτός. In order to clarify this point it is essential to consider the uses of αὐτός as an indirect reflexive.

Direct and indirect reflexivity

Chantraine quotes a few Homeric passages in which αὐτός syntactically corresponds to a direct reflexive mark; that is, its referent coincides with the grammatical subject or direct object of the sentence that includes it. [56] Interestingly, Chantraine adds some instances in which “la valeur emphatique de αὐτός fait qu’il équivaut parfois à un réfléchi sans en posséder véritablement la fonction.” [57] The point is that many different languages show that a strictly syntactical notion of reflexivity is not sufficient to explain a number of uses of reflexive pronouns. The broad term “indirect reflexives” refers to various cases in which the antecedent of a reflexive mark does not coincide with either the grammatical subject or the direct object of the sentence; [58] this occurs, for instance, when the antecedent is referred to in a separate sentence, or when the antecedent is not {145|146} the grammatical subject but, rather, the subject of consciousness. [59] Reflexives violating syntactic rules (which appear in conversation as well as in poetry, in novels, in newspapers articles, and so on) have been and still are a fascinating topic for linguists. Of course, different explanations have been set forth. Some scholars define them as logophoric reflexives (see, among others, Burkhardt 2002). Logophoricity was first explored in the Seventies in the study of African languages. It deals with reflected or reported points of view. [60] Other scholars call them “locally free reflexives” or “intensifiers without pronominal head” marking discourse prominence (Baker 1995 and König and Siemund 2000); [61] others suggest that the main function of indirect reflexives is that of indirect-discourse markers (Culy 1997). The examples in English that I am going to introduce here are paired with what I see as corresponding examples in Homer. The first pair concerns the use of indirect reflexives where the referent is not the grammatical subject or direct object and where, further, the referent is verbally mentioned in a separate sentence:

John was furious. The picture of himself in the museum had been mutilated.

Culy 1997:846, after Pollard and Sag 1992:268

Ὣς δ’ αὔτως Μενέλαον ἔχε τρόμος· οὐδὲ γὰρ αὐτῷ
ὕπνος ἐπὶ βλεφάροισιν ἐφίζανε· μή τι πάθοιεν
Ἀργεῖοι, …

Iliad 10.25–27; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

Likewise, tremor seized Menelaus, nor for himself
was sleep settling on the eyes. [He was afraid that] the Argives
might experience some suffering, …

“The picture of himself …” reflects John’s point of view. Analogously, “neither for himself” reflects Menelaus’ point of view. Both the referent of “himself” and the αὐτός-subject are those “whose mental state or attitude the content of the proposition describes.” [
62] The empathy and nearness felt by each speaker {146|147} toward John and toward Menelaus is demonstrated by the fact that it is possible to replace these sentences with “I”-statements coming from the mouth of the αὐτός-subject: “My own picture in the museum had been mutilated” and, likewise, “Slumber had not settled on my eyes either.” [63]

The next examples show indirect reflexives as discourse prominence markers. The speaker in the former excerpt is talking about his stepmother; instead of reflecting the adoption of his stepmother’s point of view, the use of “herself” conveys that she is the prominent topic of the speaker’s discourse (“their mother” and “she” climactically constructing such prominence). {147|148}

That is very true, and, therefore, I do not know whether, upon the whole, it would not be more advisable to do something for their mother while she lives rather than for them—something of the annuity kind I mean.—My sisters would feel the good effects of it as well as herself. A hundred a year would make them all perfectly comfortable.

J. Austen Sense and Sensibility, ch. 2, quoted after Baker 1995:67

ἀλλ’ ἄγε μοι τόδε εἰπὲ καὶ ἀτρεκέως κατάλεξον,
ὅππῃ ἀπεπλάγχθης τε καὶ ἅς τινας ἵκεο χώρας
ἀνθρώπων, αὐτούς τε πόλιάς τ’ ἐῢ ναιεταούσας,
ἠμὲν ὅσοι χαλεποί τε καὶ ἄγριοι οὐδὲ δίκαιοι,
οἵ τε φιλόξεινοι καί σφιν νόος ἐστὶ θεουδής.

Odyssey 8.572–576; Alcinous to Odysseus

And now tell me and list accurately the following:
where you were driven from, what places you reached,
populated; [tell about] the humans themselves and the well-inhabited cities,
as well as how many were hostile and savage, and not correct,
and those who were kind in hospitality, and also with a god-fearing mind.

Alcinous not only keeps individuals distinct from objects (cities), but he also marks them as the prominent topic of discourse. It is not by chance that the discourse proceeds by asking questions about the social habits of the same individuals.

αὐτός and someone’s true identity

Homeric αὐτός works not only as an intensifier, but also as a demonstrative of someone’s true identity. Biraud calls αὐτός a “déterminant d’individualisation” (see above, p. 133). I claim that the cognitive operation of singling out by isolating or by centering sometimes connects the “nucleus” or the essence of a character with the speaker’s recognition of that same nucleus. The demonstrativeness of αὐτός is not to be read as the act of locating a referent, but rather as a demonstrative relationship established between the one who utters αὐτός and the referent of αὐτός. In this case, such a relationship consists in the recognition of the identity of the referent, which may result in the acknowledgement of his/her name or of his/her presence “in person.” The cases of αὐτός expressing “identité complète” analyzed by Wagnon (1880:36–39) concern almost exclusively gods as a plurality (θεοὶ αὐτοί) or single deities, such as Zeus (most often), Apollo, or Era. [72] Of course, saying αὐτός of a god relates also to the social principle of centers as higher-rank entities with respect to peripheries as lower-rank or subordinate entities. However, αὐτός implying the recognition of identity is also used in Homer for non-divine characters. [73] Apart from the extraordinarily numerous occurrences with Odysseus (which will be the topic of the sections to come), I here point out a couple of exemplary passages from the Iliad. Right before Odysseus and Diomedes return to the companions from their expedition to the enemy camp, Nestor hears the noise of horses running fast and wishes it is the two heroes coming back (“May these really be Odysseus and strong Diomedes driving away … from the Trojans,” Iliad 10.536–537). The primary speaking ‘I’ immediately afterwards says:

Οὔ πω πᾶν εἴρητο ἔπος ὅτ’ ἄρ’ ἤλυθον αὐτοί.

Iliad 10.540; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience {150|151}

He had not yet uttered all his speech, when they [Odysseus and Diomedes] really arrived, in person.

Translating αὐτοί as “they” misses a subtler underlying communicative intention. What is involved here by αὐτοί is Nestor’s recognition of the identity of the two approaching men, an attitude that is also shared by the primary speaking ‘I’. αὐτός is used to confirm that Nestor’s wish has come true. [
74] In another significant passage, the primary speaking ‘I’ joins the characters involved in the scene by underscoring the visual perception (and perhaps also the emotion) of facing “the real thing.” In Iliad 9, the ambassadors Phoenix, Ajax, and Odysseus have just reached the tents of the Myrmidons. They find Achilles playing the lyre. After a little digression on the lyre, the text recites:

τὼ δὲ βάτην προτέρω, ἡγεῖτο δὲ δῖος Ὀδυσσεύς,
στὰν δὲ πρόσθ’ αὐτοῖο· …

Iliad 9.192–193; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

The two walked forward. Divine Odysseus was leading the way.
They stood before Achilles in person …

αὐτός for Achilles is not motivated by any near mention of the referent “Achilles,” nor is he the only agent within the narrated scene. Previous grammatical subjects are the people involved in the embassy (185), the lyre (187), Achilles (188), Patroclus (190), the ambassadors again (at line 192), and Odysseus (192). Still, the unquestionable center of attention not only for the ambassadors but also for the recipients of the text is Achilles. In accordance with the expectations of Phoenix, of Ajax, and of Odysseus, standing in front of such a person equals standing “in front of [Achilles] himself, Achilles ipse.” After all, they had not seen him since his withdrawal from battle. Achilles is perceived as the center, surrounded by other people, who form a periphery. The center-periphery idea is here strongly supported by the visualization process that is implied: everybody’s eyes at that moment are fixed on Achilles, including those of the performer and of the audience. He is not the prominent grammatical subject, but he is definitely the central visual feature of the scene. As for the internal characters, a special eye contact is established between the {151|152} ambassadors and Achilles. Achilles is also going to be the macrotopic of the next segment of narrative. He is not simply the hero to whom the ambassadors are supposed to talk. The ultimate relevance of facing Achilles “the very one” does not rest only upon that specific meeting, but also upon the crucial event the ambassadors are very much anticipating. In conclusion, this passage shows that αὐτός as intensifier in a non-nominative case can be charged with the value of a demonstrative of identity. As such, it conveys the speaker’s involvement—shared by the internal characters—in the cognitive process of recognizing of “the real thing”—that is, the true essence or nucleus behind an individual.

Before ending this analysis of αὐτός in Homer I would like to briefly comment on a most controversial Homeric word dealing with αὐτός, namely αὐτοδίδακτος, which is spoken by Phemius in his speech of self-defense to Odysseus (Odyssey 22.347). In light of the broader spectrum of meanings of αὐτός just introduced, the commonly acknowledged translation “self-taught” might be replaced. Certainly αὐτός in Homer may suggest one or more of the following: reflexivity (whence the idea of “teaching himself”); autonomy (“I do it [by] myself,” whence Monro’s interpretation, “the art of the ἀοιδός was becoming, or had become, a regular profession” [75] ); and contrast … with what other people do (whence Stanford’s suggestion of a “contrast with the ‘school-poets’ ” [76] ). However, as we have seen, αὐτός may have additional implications. I support the reading according to which the auto– component almost deictically points at the source of the teaching activity, while at the same time it reveals the essence of the singer’s professional identity: “It is me, I am the one who is able to handle the repertory of songs.” This interpretation agrees with Fernández-Galiano, who claims, “What he [Phemius] seems to be trying to say … is that he has an innate capacity to apply the traditional repertory of inherited poetic craft to the particular case relevant to the audience of the moment.” [77] At the syntactical level, such a reading presupposes what Schmidt had already said: “αὐτο- ist dabei nicht Obj. zu διδάσκω (‘einer, der sich selbst mit Fähigkeiten versehen hat’), sondern Agens wie z.B. in αὐτάγρετος oder nachep. αὐτόκτιτος.” [78] Claiming a highly respectable and admirable ability is consistent with what Phemius says both before and after. The source-oriented interpretation of αὐτοδίδακτος that I propose leads to the following reading of lines 345–348: “Grief is what you will have, Odysseus, if you kill a singer. I am a singer, who sings for gods and for men. It is me the one who has the ability to {152|153} handle the repertory of songs, and a god has planted in my mind all kinds of song-ways.” [79] I ask the reader to notice that the reading “self-taught” requires that the second δέ (θεὸς δέ μοι … οἴμας … ἐνέφυσεν) be interpreted adversatively, whereas the source-oriented interpretation that I am offering reads the second δέ as marker of a new discourse act, harmoniously with the first δέ (αὐτοδίδακτος δ’ εἰμί).

αὐτός and sameness

All the occurrences of αὐτός so far examined have been seen as the linguistic codification of possibly different communicative intentions relating to the notion of selfness. These intentions concern the speaker’s view toward referents that have already been actually introduced in discourse, which is the typical anaphoric function of pronouns. In this sense, αὐτός always retains a basic sense of sameness as well—that is, “the same entity mentioned before.” Better to say, sameness is a pre-condition for selfness: centers and peripheries and the “nucleus” of someone’s identity are evoked only when individuals have been introduced (or “primed”) immediately before. The point is that while selfness always implies sameness, sameness does not necessarily bring about selfness. This is clear once we consider that in Homer αὐτός conveys selfness whenever the referents are individuals; conversely, when the referents are objects, αὐτός tends to convey “plain” sameness. However, I also detect a specific pragmatic and cognitive function behind this sameness related to objects, which I call focus-keeping. [80] The one who utters αὐτός keeps the visual attention of the recipients upon a certain object until a visual shift to another entity is required. [81] The iteration of the reference to an entity the speaker wants to focus on is in Homer primarily a matter of visualization. It is as if the speaking “I” would invite the recipient to keep the gaze of his/her mind’s eye on the selected object for a moment. Thus, I apply the notion of “sameness” to the cognitive process of iteration of visual attention. One of the purposes of such an iteration might be a closer visualization of what happens in detail—a zooming-in effect, once again, as in the following formulaic description of ritual sacrifices: {153|154}

μηρούς τ’ ἐξέταμον κατά τε κνίσῃ ἐκάλυψαν
δίπτυχα ποιήσαντες, ἐπ’ αὐτῶν δ’ ὠμοθέτησαν

Iliad 1.460–461 = II 423–424; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

and they [the Achaeans] cut the thighs and covered them with fat
by making two layers; and upon them they laid strips of raw meat.

No English translation can reflect the Greek informational and visual order. The primary speaking ‘I’ lets the recipients first visualize the meat wrapped with fat and folded in two; then he invites them to keep their gaze on that meat (ἐπ’ αὐτῶν, “keep your eyes on the same object”) in order to frame the shot of the shreds of flesh exactly put on such meat. Another purpose of iterating visual attention can be to facilitate the stop-and-shift characterizing the visualization of a sequence of objects (or of interrelated actions):

τύμβον δ’ ἀμφὶ πυρὴν ἕνα χεύομεν ἐξαγαγόντες
ἄκριτον ἐκ πεδίου· ποτὶ δ’ αὐτὸν δείμομεν ὦκα
πύργους ὑψηλοὺς εἶλαρ νηῶν τε καὶ αὐτῶν.
ἐν δ’ αὐτοῖσι πύλας ποιήσομεν εὖ ἀραρυίας,
ὄφρα δι’ αὐτάων ἱππηλασίη ὁδὸς εἴη·

Iliad 7.336–340; Nestor to the Achaeans; and see also 435–439

Around the funeral pile let us heap one mound, and extend it
randomly from the plain. Upon this, let us speedily build
high towers, as a barrier for the ships and for ourselves.
Then, in the towers we’ll create well-fitted gates,
in order to have, through them, a way for driving chariots.

Nestor is proposing to the Achaeans a truce in order to bury the fallen and to build a fortification for the camp. In this passage—unusually full of αὐτός markers—the sequence of actions implies the continuous shift from one item to the next (from the mound to the towers, from the towers to the gates, and from the gates to the way for the chariots). αὐτός keeps visual attention on the last item mentioned so as to track in order each of the items to be built and also to facilitate the memorization of the sequence to be followed. As for αὐτῶν referring to “us, the Achaeans” (338), it keeps individuals distinguished from objects {154|155} (“the ships and ourselves”), as it also functions elsewhere, [
82] and it turns out to be a reflexive mark.

Odysseus as αὐτός in the first half of the poem

Adverbial, adnominal, and pronominal forms of αὐτός refer to Odysseus throughout the first half of the Odyssey in full accord with the different implications I have presented in the previous sections. It works as intensifier (both with and without a pronominal head)—that is, it structures the set of references in terms of center and periphery. It is also used as a demonstrative of Odysseus’ full identity. Let us start with the center-periphery instances. A recurrent and typically Odyssean feature is the pairing of Odysseus, a single individual at the center, and the companions, who are upon the periphery. The relationship between the two is mostly one of contrast. αὐτός isolates Odysseus by making him the only one who behaves or has to behave in a certain way; such isolation is meant to be visual as well.

εἰ δέ κε σίνηαι, τότε τοι τεκμαίρομ’ ὄλεθρον
νηΐ τε καὶ ἑτάροισ’. αὐτὸς δ’ εἴ πέρ κεν ἀλύξῃς,
ὀψὲ κακῶς νεῖαι, …

Odyssey 11.112–114 = 12.139–141; Teiresias/Circe to Odysseus

In this case, the contrast between center and periphery is highlighted by the adjacent positions of the corresponding terms in the middle of the line (ἑτάροισ’. αὐτὸς). Elsewhere the isolating function leads to a focus on Odysseus as an individual, in contrast to objects or animals. [
84] Sometimes it simply implies aloneness, such as, for example, when Odysseus tells Nausicaa’s maids to stay away from him so that he can wash the sea-salt off by himself (Odyssey 6.218). {155|156}

As I have already claimed, it is common for αὐτός to express multiple communicative intentions at once. I interpret the reference to Odysseus as he lies down on the Phaeacian ship on the way to Ithaca as an outstanding multifunctional αὐτός:

αὐτὰρ ἐπεί ῥ’ ἐπὶ νῆα κατήλυθον ἠδὲ θάλασσαν,
αἶψα τά γ’ ἐν νηῒ γλαφυρῇ πομπῆες ἀγαυοὶ
δεξάμενοι κατέθεντο, πόσιν καὶ βρῶσιν ἅπασαν·
κὰδ δ’ ἄρ’ Ὀδυσσῆϊ στόρεσαν ῥῆγός τε λίνον τε
νηὸς ἐπ’ ἰκριόφιν γλαφυρῆς, ἵνα νήγρετον εὕδοι,
πρυμνῆς· ἂν δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ἐβήσετο καὶ κατέλεκτο {156|157}
σιγῇ· τοὶ δὲ καθῖζον ἐπὶ κληῖσιν ἕκαστοι
κόσμῳ, …

Odyssey 13.70–77; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

So, when they went down to sea, to the ship,
the wondrous escorts directly took them [the offerings] and stowed them
in the hollow of the ship, all the drink and the food.
They spread out a rug and linen for Odysseus,
on the beam of the ships’ hull, where he could sleep without waking,
at the stern. He himself went aboard and lay down
silently. They sat down at the oarlocks, each of them
in order, …

In my view, all the following readings are overlapping: Odysseus is the center and the Phaeacian sailors are the periphery; the hero is visually isolated and kept apart; he is treated with particular respect, as a high rank guest by the Phaeacians; through the image of his going aboard, the primary speaking ‘I’ puts a spotlight on him and also considers him to be a higher-rank character (it is Odysseus ipse). [

I would highlight a particularly salient aspect of the uses of αὐτός as an indirect reflexive concerning Odysseus’ reflected or reported point of view. If we have a look at the graph summarizing the distribution of these occurrences throughout the poem (see p. 130 above, the introductory section of this chapter), there are numerous instances of Odysseus αὐτός in books five, eight, ten, and thirteen. Of course, while Odysseus is the storyteller substituting for the primary speaking ‘I’ of the poem (books 8-12), it is no surprise that αὐτός expresses thematic and emotional nearness. Still, it is relevant to note that all of this does not pertain exclusively to the occurrences of “I αὐτός,” as one might logically expect; “he αὐτός”-cases are involved as well. A remarkable instance of that is in book v, where by the primary speaking ‘I’ uses αὐτός to intrude into Oydsseus’ {157|158} consciousness (Odysseus’ self, I would say) and to reveal an absolutely non-neutral presentation of the events: [87]

ἑπτὰ δὲ καὶ δέκα μὲν πλέεν ἤματα ποντοπορεύων,
ὀκτωκαιδεκάτῃ δ’ ἐφάνη ὄρεα σκιόεντα
γαίης Φαιήκων, ὅθι τ’ ἄγχιστον πέλεν αὐτῷ·
εἴσατο δ’ ὡς ὅτε ῥινὸν ἐν ἠεροειδέϊ πόντῳ.

Odyssey 5.278–281; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

He sailed for seventeen days, on his way through the sea.
On the eighteenth day, the shadowy mountains
of the Phaeacian land appeared; the place was very much close to himself;
it looked like a shield of oxhide in the misty sea.

Other constructions using other third-person pronouns were available to “Homer.” Instead, αὐτός is chosen. This choice—I suggest—lets the recipients infer that the words of the primary speaking ‘I’ overlap with what Odysseus presumably has in his mind. The emotional nearness or empathy here conveyed seems to be confirmed by further uses of αὐτός in lines that follow (vv. 315, 350, 367, and 374).

Finally, a crucial aspect of Odysseus αὐτός in the first half of the poem concerns Odysseus’ self in the sense of “nucleus,” “essence,” or “core of identity,” an unquestionably major topic of the Odyssey. Several occurrences of αὐτός thematize Odysseus in two particularly delicate moments of transition for him—namely, his stay on Calypso’s island (book five) and his arrival on the shore of Ithaca (book thirteen). In both places, Odysseus is basically alone, far from his people, yet he does not need to hide his true identity from anyone. As I noted previously, book five is the first narrative occasion to spotlight the hero “in person,” not the one everyone was previously talking about, but the real one, who is to eventually appear on the stage of the epic song. From this point of view, αὐτός can be seen as a strategic mark of Odysseus’ centeredness within the poem overall. αὐτός starts conveying the “nucleus” of Odysseus’ identity already in book four, when Helen tells of the stratagem of the horse.

ἀνδρῶν δυσμενέων κατέδυ πόλιν εὐρυάγυιαν.
ἄλλῳ δ’ αὐτὸν φωτὶ κατακρύπτων ἤϊσκε {158|159}
Δέκτῃ, ὃς οὐδὲν τοῖος ἔην ἐπὶ νηυσὶν Ἀχαιῶν.

Odyssey 4.246–248; Helen to Menelaus

He [Odysseus], hostile to the men, sneaked into the city of the wide streets.
By disguising his self, he resembled some other man,
a beggar, who was not at all the man who was beside the ships of the Achaeans.

Here the ultimate meaning of αὐτός goes beyond the syntactical reflexive use; the pronoun works almost as a noun, as a reference to the essence of Odysseus himself: he had hidden his “self.” A cross-referencing αὐτός that, I would argue, has the same meaning is again found in book thirteen, when Odysseus awakes on the Ithacan shore and is not able to recognize his land. The primary speaking ‘I’ explains that Athena had poured a mist all over the place,

… ὄφρα μιν αὐτὸν
ἄγνωστον τεύξειεν …

Odyssey 13.190–191; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

… so she could make his self
unrecognizable …

In this passage, the grammatical function of αὐτός is that of an intensifier with a pronominal head (μιν); yet, the meaning is the same as in the previous passage: what Athena makes unrecognizable is Odysseus’ essence, his true identity.

The polyphony of Odysseus αὐτός and Odysseus κεῖνος (Odyssey 15–21)

The primary speaking ‘I’ of the Odyssey demonstrates his virtuosity in the second half of the poem through the interlacing between the awareness and the unawareness of Odysseus’ true identity by different characters, the lament over his absence, the perception of his appearance, and the full recognition of his homecoming. [88] The polyphony emerging from the uses of αὐτός and κεῖνος is a notable element of this interlacing. Each pronoun is itself characterized by an intrinsic polysemy: the same utterance αὐτός can correspond to quite different {159|160} communicative intentions—such as, for example, to convey that the referent is acting alone, or to convey the recognition of the identity of the referent. A further element of interlacing is the relationship between the subjective perceptions of the speaker and the addressee of the words spoken: to give an example, Telemachus may choose to refer to Odysseus as κεῖνος among the suitors either to convey that he (Telemachus) is, in fact, perceiving his appearance or just to reflect the suitors’ point of view, according to whom Odysseus is still far away. Another element of the dynamic of polyphony is what the primary speaking ‘I’ chooses to have his characters speak, independently of their awareness or unawareness of the implications. For example, Penelope may choose to recall Odysseus as αὐτός while she still has to openly admit that she recognized his identity. This may be due either to the primary speaking ‘I’’s intention to create a dramatic irony (by highlighting the discrepancy between Penelope’s knowledge and the audience’s omniscient knowledge), or to the different narrative functions of Penelope’s character. Finally, there is the overarching polyphony between Odysseus’ perception of himself as αὐτός and as κεῖνος. Such overarching polyphony reflects a duality that typically marks the Ithacan hero, namely the inside and the outside of the individual, to use Starobinski’s terms. The next subsections will trace the paths marked out by the two pronouns referring to Odysseus in conjunction with the narrated events and, most of all, with the reintegration of Odysseus’ social and familial relationships in Ithaca.

The relationship with the allies

I would like to introduce first the polysemy and polyphony of the references to Odysseus αὐτός and Odysseus κεῖνος involving Telemachus, Eumaeus, and Philoetius, who will be the crucial helpers in the mnēstērophonia. Before leaving Eumaeus’ shelter (book seventeen), Telemachus suggests to the swineherd that he take the guest to the city, where the latter might beg for some food from the suitors. “If the stranger loses his temper, this will be more painful for him” (ἄλγιον αὐτῷ / ἔσσεται, 14–15), Telemachus says. Such a use of αὐτός perfectly fits the intention to emphasize by contrast that he will be the one who gets the worst of it; this shall not concern other people but only the stranger. Curiously, immediately afterwards Odysseus uses αὐτός to refer to himself as well (“nor do I aim to be detained,” οὐδέ τοι αὐτὸς ἐρύκεσθαι μενεαίνω, 17). Later, while speaking to Eumaeus once again, Telemachus keeps using αὐτός for Odysseus: “Give this bread to the guest, and request that he himself begs” (αὐτόν τε κέλευε / αἰτίζειν, xvii 345–346). αὐτός in this case indicates the origin of the action to be carried out. This little chain of uses of αὐτός referring to an individual whose identity is already known to his interlocutors (Odysseus revealed his “self” to Telemachus {160|161} at 16.188  [89] ) suggests that the acknowledgement of Odysseus’ real identity may be hinted at. If we interpret Eumaeus in the role of unknowing swineherd, this happens secretly; if conversely we interpret Eumaeus in the role of loyal ally or worshipper, Odysseus’ real identity is explicitly admitted. Telemachus’ utterance of αὐτός at 20.305 seems to confirm this reading: Ctesippus has just missed striking Odysseus with an ox hoof (he refers to the beggar as αὐτός, by the way, at line 296) and Telemachus comments: “Good for you, Ctesippus, that you missed the guest; he avoided the missile himself” (ἀλεύατο γὰρ βέλος αὐτός, 305). The primary speaking ‘I’ again chooses αὐτός—and at a late point in the poem—to indicate Telemachus’ awareness of who the beggar actually is: at the end of book twenty-one, he has Telemachus, perfectly armed and ready for the massacre, take his position beside Odysseus αὐτός: ἄγχι δ’ ἄρ’ αὐτοῦ / πὰρ θρόνον ἑστήκει (433–434). The center-periphery structure and the emotional nearness linking the proud son to his father are clear as well.

Telemachus also chooses to use κεῖνος as a polysemic reference to his father, as when he addresses the beggar in front of the suitors:

… ἐπεὶ οὔ τοι δήμιός ἐστιν
οἶκος ὅδ’, ἀλλ’ ’Οδυσῆος, ἐμοὶ δ’ ἐκτήσατο κεῖνος.

Odyssey 20.264–265; Telemachus to Odysseus

… because this house here does not belong to the people,
but to Odysseus; that one got it for me.

κεῖνος conveys at once the presumed farness of the referent (reflecting the suitors’ point of view), the laudatory attitude toward such a respectable and prominent man (reflecting the social point of view of a ruler’s son), and the actual epiphanic presence of Odysseus (reflecting the internal point of view of Telemachus). Some lines before, the oxherd Philoetius had reached Eumaeus, Odysseus, and Melanthius at the porch of Odysseus’ house. Philoetius stares at the beggar, takes the floor, and reveals:

ἴδιον, ὡς ἐνόησα, δεδάκρυνται δέ μοι ὄσσε
μνησαμένῳ Ὀδυσῆος, ἐπεὶ καὶ κεῖνον ὀΐω
τοιάδε λαίφε’ ἔχοντα κατ’ ἀνθρώπους ἀλάλησθαι, {161|162}
εἴ που ἔτι ζώει καὶ ὁρᾷ φάος ἠελίοιο.

Odyssey 20.204–207; Philoetius to the beggar

I was sweating when I noticed you; my eyes burst into tears,
as I remembered Odysseus. Because, I believe,
that one has such shabby garments as the ones you have, and he is wandering from people to people,
if he is still alive and sees the light of sun.

Philoetius draws a striking visual connection between the man in front of him and Odysseus. The polysemic καὶ κεῖνον refers to his own imagination of absent Odysseus, but it also expresses Philoetius’ realization of the actual appearance of the master. The strong non-verbal sign of tears, along with the cognitive activities underlying νοέω and μιμνήσκομαι, [
90] lead me to hypothesize a twofold status of his speech: on the one hand, the primary speaking ‘I’ seems to deliberately emphasize the dramatic irony of the oxherd’s unawareness; on the other hand, the primary speaking ‘I’ describes the scene as if Philoetius really had recognized his master. [91] Quite similar polysemic uses of κεῖνος pertain to Eumaeus in book seventeen, when, after seeing his master kicked by Melanthius, he begs the Nymphs to grant the favor of Odysseus’ appearance (ὡς ἔλθοι μὲν κεῖνος ἀνήρ, 243) and, later, when he tells Penelope that the guest at his own shelter was enchanting him (ὣς ἐμὲ κεῖνος ἔθελγε, 521). [92] Odysseus himself seems to respond to this by saying to Eumaeus, “[I will tell Penelope everything] because I know about that one; we underwent the same sufferings” (οἶδα γὰρ εὖ περὶ κείνου, ὁμὴν δ’ ἀνεδέγμεθ’ ὀϊζύν, 563). The only occurrence of κεῖνος in book twenty-one referring to Odysseus is most interestingly embedded in a close sequence of several uses of αὐτός immediately before and at the very moment of the hero’s full revelation to Eumaeus and to Philoetius. The primary speaking ‘I’ first isolates Odysseus and gives him visual prominence (ἐκ δ’ αὐτὸς μετὰ τοὺς δόμου ἤλυθε δῖος ’Οδυσσεύς, “After them [Philoetius and Eumaeus] he (in person) went out of the house, divine Odysseus,” 190). Then, it is Odysseus himself who uses αὐτός three times in his speech to the swineherd and the oxherd. “Should I give a speech to you, or should I hide it?” (ἔπος τί κε μυθησαίμην, / ἦ αὐτὸς κεύθω; 193–194): αὐτός here could have a concessive nuance: “Even though I am who I am, should I hide it?” And a few lines later: “Would you be ready to defend Odysseus if he should suddenly come here, and a god should bring him in person?” (καί τις θεὸς αὐτὸν {162|163} ἐνείκαι; 196). At that point, the primary speaking ‘I’ inserts Philoetius’ prayer to Zeus that the real Odysseus may come (ὡς ἔλθοι μὲν κεῖνος ἀνήρ, 21.201). These words echo Eumaeus’ at 17.243 (already mentioned), and the choice of κεῖνος from Philoetius evokes his previous κεῖνος at book twenty (analyzed above). The culmination of this subtle interlacement of third-person pronouns is the very moment of revelation, when Odysseus declares “Here I am”:

ἔνδον μὲν δὴ ὅδ’ αὐτὸς ἐγώ …

Odyssey 21.207; Odysseus to Eumaeus and Philoetius

The swineherd’s and the oxherd’s uses of κεῖνος, along with the master’s use of αὐτός for Odysseus, indicate a fundamental ambiguity about what is described before and after the explicit revelation. Through the utterance of these two pronouns by different characters, the primary speaking ‘I’ deliberately expresses polyphony. The range and the network of the implied meanings create the basis for a much more sophisticated interplay than the mechanical variation κεῖνος – αὐτός as “the far one” vs. “the one just mentioned,” or, in an even flatter sense, both as “he.” The persistent ambiguity about the awareness or unawareness of the characters is, once again, brought to the fore. In the case of Telemachus, the problem does not exist, because his uses of κεῖνος and αὐτός for his father occur after the anagnōrisis anyway. For Eumaeus and Philoetius, however, ambiguity is rife. Is the primary speaking ‘I’ playing, to a remarkable degree, with effects of dramatic irony, or is he implicitly showing that Eumaeus and Philoetius have also already recognized their master and that the master has already revealed himself to them? In chapter 2, I proposed to go beyond a reading guided solely by dramatic irony and to think of the Homeric text as the verbal representation of further layers of communication. Accordingly, Eumaeus’ use of κεῖνος can be read as polyphonic to the extent that the utterance κεῖνος may come from different persons embodied by “Eumaeus.” But what about Philoetius? I anticipate that the same ambiguity will arise also from the uses of κεῖνος and αὐτός by Eurycleia, by Penelope, and even by the suitors, before Odysseus officially reveals his true identity. Prior to drawing some conclusions regarding the roles of Eurycleia, of Penelope, and of the suitors, let us complete the textual analysis. {163|164}

The exchanges involving Eurycleia and Penelope—first part

Eurycleia’s uses of αὐτός and κεῖνος for the master can be seen as linearly reflecting her perceptions before and after the recognition of the scar. Odysseus is “the far one”—κεῖνος—before, and “the real one,” “the recognized one”—αὐτός—after. However, the primary speaking ‘I’ makes Eurycleia much more than a quasi-comic or minor character. As in the instances of Eumaeus and Philoetius, Eurycleia is a figure of sophisticated polyphony, which emerges contextually. Before washing Odysseus, she faces him, bursts into tears—a significantly polysemic non-verbal sign—and gives a remarkable speech, full of quasi-explicit statements about the beggar’s resemblance to her master (19.361–381). “You prayed to come to a wealthy old age and to raise your illustrious son” (367–368); “I’ve never seen anybody resemble Odysseus as you do” (380–381; notable is the use of ὧδε, 380, in her visually-based remark). The lament she embeds at lines 369–370 is highly ambiguous: an explicit link between “you” (τοι), later resumed by σέθεν (372), and “the day of nostos” (νόστιμον ἦμαρ) is established; furthermore, a definitely polysemic κεῖνος (καὶ κείνῳ) lets the recipients draw a connection between the supposedly dead (and lamented) hero and his epiphanic appearance. [94] Later on, when Telemachus asks Eurycleia how the guest had been treated the night before, the nurse hints at her knowledge of who the guest actually is by saying “He sat and drank as he wanted” (ὄφρ’ ἔθελ’ αὐτός, 20.136). At the level of content, “as he wanted” is quite irrelevant information. My reading is that this clause includes αὐτός, so that Eurycleia may indirectly communicate her discovery to Telemachus. My argument implies the dismantling of a coherent and unifying conception of Eurycleia’s figure. [95] The same holds for Penelope.

The communicative situations involving Penelope, from Odysseus’ entrance into the palace to the night before the beginning of the contest (books 17–21), are very intriguing and have been often and variously studied. My analysis does not aim at solving the anthropological, psychological, and narratological {164|165} difficulties underlying Penelope’s figure. It simply aims at adding information from the point of view of lexical and syntactical choices. At the end of my analysis some summary remarks about this information will be submitted to the reader, in the context of prior studies of the topic.

First, some necessary premises. From the grammatical, the syntactical, the semantic, the pragmatic, and the cognitive point of view, each occurrence of αὐτός and κεῖνος can be easily explained without any further additional interpretation. This does not mean that additional interpretations are useless; it does, however, demonstrate that whatever the ultimate meaning the primary speaking ‘I’ conveys, he has perfect control of his linguistic tools. Polyphony is to be captured beneath the verbal surface, and its elements are a matter of frequency, of unusual wordings, of unnecessary information. Finally, a constant principle guiding my analysis is that the argument begins from the words that come from a character’s mouth rather than from any presupposed formulation of the personality of that character.

First of all, the primary speaking ‘I’ puts into Penelope’s mouth two uses of αὐτός that refer to the beggar, both in twofold sentences spoken well before she herself sees the beggar. Eumaeus has just described to Penelope his enchanting time with the beggar at his shelter, to which the woman responds: “Go and call him, so that facing me he may recount” (ἵν’ ἀντίον αὐτὸς ἐνίσπῃ, 17.529). A few lines later, she asserts: “If I know that he is recounting everything truthfully [αἴ κ’ αὐτὸν γνώω νημερτέα πάντ’ ἐνέποντα, 17.549], I will dress him with a cloak, a tunic, and beautiful clothes.” Penelope is speaking of seeing, knowing, and recognizing. The real identity of the individual she looks forward to meeting is one of the possible implications of such a use of αὐτός. The fact that she still has to face the disguised presence of her husband is striking: what is here at issue is not Penelope’s full recognition of her husband well before the due moment within the storyline, but her awareness of the beggar’s identity before she sees him. The question I would like to prompt is: who takes advantage of uttering these two instances of αὐτός? Is it the character Penelope or is it the primary speaking ‘I’? I would draw attention to the linguistic strategies of the primary speaking ‘I’ in putting in Penelope’s mouth (and in Odysseus’ mouth, as well) such pronouns. My interpretation is that these first two instances of αὐτός are part of an effective strategy by the primary speaking ‘I’, for they enable the identification of Penelope as a wife determinedly willing to know whether the mysterious guest is her husband or not. The performative and literary purposes of that identification will be discussed at the end of this section.

In line with the two instances of αὐτός just discussed, the storyteller prepares his audience for the polyphony of the following scenes of misrecognition vs. correct recognition by means of five strategic uses of κεῖνος in book {165|166} eighteen. The first two are uttered by Odysseus, the remaining three by Penelope. In his reply to Amphinomus’ speech (18.125–150), Odysseus deplores the suitors’ behavior; he warns him that Odysseus is close by, and adds: “May you not face that one [μηδ’ ἀντιάσειας ἐκείνῳ, 18.147], when he comes back to his fatherland; I believe that the suitors and that one [μνηστῆρας καὶ κεῖνον, 18.150] will side against each other, and not without blood, once he enters the house.” The text encourages its recipients to focus on the visual impact of the epiphany of Odysseus, as it is foretold by Eumaeus. At this point, Penelope, inspired by Athena, decides to appear to the suitors. At line 181, she resumes a lament-oriented κεῖνος: no beauty has remained for her since “that one” has gone (ἐξ οὗ κεῖνος ἔβη); later, she repeats the same concept and adds “If that one should come [εἰ κεῖνός γ’ ἐλθὼν, 18.254] and protect my life, my kleos would be greater and finer.” Finally, after re-performing in front of Eurymachus Odysseus’ farewell speech of many years before, she concludes, “in this way that one was speaking” (κεῖνος τὼς ἀγόρευε, `8.271), which is an unusual diction for closures that involve the verb ἀγορεύω. [96] All of these uses of κεῖνος contribute to the expression of excitement by more people: by the speakers themselves, Odysseus and Penelope, who are both confident about the epiphany of the Ithacan hero, [97] by the internal audience as they listen to several cross-referential suggestions about his potential arrival, and, finally, by the external audience, which is enjoying this panorama of different perceptions of the protagonist. During the two long verbal exchanges between Penelope and Odysseus in book xix (103–356 and 509–599) the polyphonic use of the two pronouns (for a total of eleven occurrences) comes to one of its highest points over the entire poem. [98] After the initial words of the beggar, Penelope repeats the wish she has already expressed: “If that one would come and would protect my life, my kleos would be greater and finer.” [99] As the beggar starts his Cretan tale and recounts that he hosted Odysseus for twelve days, a series of significant uses of αὐτός occurs. “I gave the companions who were following him barley from the public store,” the beggar says, where the unnecessary relative clause attached to “I gave” is οἳ ἅμ’ αὐτῷ ἕποντο “who were following him” (19.196). Penelope replies by using αὐτός in a similar thematic context: “[Tell me] what kind of man he was, and [tell me about] the companions who followed {166|167} him,” (αὐτός θ’ οἷος ἔην, καὶ ἑταίρους, οἵ οἱ ἕποντο, 219). Here, the center-periphery structure “he himself vs. the companions” leaves space for an indirect acknowledgment of identity. The vividness of the verbal exchange between the two is enhanced by the insertion of Penelope’s tears, which is—I repeat—a polysemic non-verbal reaction (19.204–209). [100] Then, the beggar hints at the overlap concerning “himself” two more times, by again adding unnecessary details: about Odysseus’ tunic—the same one that Penelope had given to him before he left home many years before—he says “many were the women who were admiring him” (ἦ μὲν πολλαί γ’ αὐτὸν ἐθηήσαντο γυναῖκες, 19.235); about the herald that was following Odysseus he says “a herald accompanied him, slightly older than him” (προγενέστερος αὐτοῦ, 19.244). Penelope’s reaction to this part of the story is to burst into tears once more, “as she recognized the sure tokens Odysseus had shown her” (σήματ’ ἀναγνούσῃ τά οἱ ἔμπεδα πέφραδ’ ’Οδυσσεύς, 19.250). [101] A few lines later she establishes a visual relationship by thinking of her husband wearing the clothes the beggar was speaking about: “I was the one who gave him these clothes … and the brooch … to be his adornment” (κείνῳ ἄγαλμ’ ἔμεναι, 19.257). I would even suggest that the lexical combination κεῖνος + ἄγαλμα + ὑποδέχομαι (cf. τὸν δ’ ὑποδέξομαι αὖτις, which ends line 257) is hinting, both surreptitiously and deliberately, at Penelope’s worship of a dead Odysseus, within a communicative layer other than the plot-derived one. [102] To these instances of κεῖνος uttered by Penelope, Odysseus replies with further uses of αὐτός. The loss of the companions was {167|168} a punishment for Odysseus, since Helios and Zeus were showing hate to him (ὀδύσαντο γὰρ αὐτῷ, 275). Here the pun on Odysseus’ name enhances the value of autos as a demonstrative of identity. More: the king of the Thesprotians was swearing about the return of Odysseus in front of the Cretan narrator (ὤμνυε δὲ πρὸς ἔμ’ αὐτόν, … / νῆα κατειρύσθαι, 288–289). [103] A further κεῖνος spoken by Penelope shows the polyphony that derives from an attitude of lament over the supposedly dead husband and from the assertion of the visual experience of Odysseus’ epiphany (the two are, after all, involved in a face-to-face conversation): “I have an old woman … who nourished that unhappy man” (κεῖνον δύστηνον, 354). [104] After the scar scene, “[w]ith an intimacy that develops with amazing speed,” [105] Penelope tells the stranger about her prophetic dream, and the beggar confirms that it is a sign of Odysseus’ return: “Odysseus himself made known how this is going to culminate: ruin is becoming apparent for the suitors” (ἦ ῥά τοι αὐτὸς ’Οδυσσεὺς / πέφραδ’ ὅπως τελέει· μνηστῆρσι δὲ φαίνετ’ ὄλεθρος, 556–557). These words, which tell about a specific statement spoken by “Odysseus,” are strongly ambivalent. The elements of this ambivalence are the evidential particles ἦ ῥά, the addressing particle τοι, “I tell you,” the subtle value of πέφραδε [106] and, finally, the utterance of the statement itself μνηστῆρσι δὲ φαίνετ’ ὄλεθρος. All of this makes αὐτός the marker of the coincidence between “Odysseus” foretelling the mnēstērophonia and the speaking “I” doing the same. [107] The final κεῖνος uttered by Penelope occurs as she announces her proposal about the contest with the bow. She first mentions the axes that “that one used to set up in a row” (κεῖνος … / ἵστασχ’ ἑξείης, 573–574). During her sleepless night after the meeting and before the contest, she admits “For tonight somebody resembling the true one has slept at my side, such as the one who went with the army” (τῇδε γὰρ αὖ μοι νυκτὶ παρέδραθεν εἴκελος αὐτῷ, / τοῖος ἐὼν οἷος ᾖεν ἅμα στρατῷ, 20.88–89). [108]

Most of the numerous interpretations of Penelope’s verbal and non-verbal behavior tend to consider her character in the most natural way—that is, as {168|169} an individual with a more or less decipherable personality. Accordingly, her behavior lends support to the interpretation of what she does and says either as a sign of her conscious or subconscious recognition of her husband before the indubitable anagnōrisis, or as it shows her stubborn resistance while she faces clear proofs of the beggar’s identity. [109] Katz (1991:113) differentiates two basic approaches to Penelope’s behavior, one guided by the psychology and sociology of the character, the other by the poem’s structure. In borrowing this differentiation, I include in the former views that provide different explanations for Penelope’s inconsistencies; these are essentially based on a unitary notion of character. [110] The latter approach, conversely, connects the different aspects characterizing the “unfathomability of Penelope’s motives” (Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, III:105) to different features: different behaviors may correspond to different poetic sources or traditions (Schwartz 1924 and Fenik 1974:164); they may correspond to the “faithful duplicity” of Penelope’s μῆτις and polytropia (Winkler 1990:147 and Marquardt 1985); they may correspond to separate plots she weaves and manipulates (Felson-Rubin 1987:73). My reading of the polyphony characterizing Odysseus’ interaction with Penelope through the interplay of αὐτός and κεῖνος points toward dismantling a unitary notion of character, in favor of the poetic strategies the performer exploits for his own performative and literary purposes. I agree with Katz that Penelope’s role (like Telemachus’) is related to the construction of Odysseus’ presence in the second half of the poem. [111] In other words, her figure and her words may be seen primarily as a “narrative device.” [112] Felson’s intuition about the impossibility of breaking the profound link between the plots of the characters and the plots of the primary speaking ‘I’ highlights the relevance of the characters’ personalities against their speaking names. Penelope may impersonate narrative, literary, {169|170} and performative functions, besides impersonating Odysseus’ wife. [113] After all, questions about who Penelope actually is have been arisen more than once in the scholarly literature. [114] The narrative, performative, and literary purposes for putting autos and keinos in Penelope’s mouth to refer to Odysseus may be the same as for the faithful allies and, as we will see in the next subsection, even the same as for the enemies. These purposes converge upon the idea of constructing different, yet co-existing, values concerning the main hero that interact with each other. The polyphony of Odysseus κεῖνος in the second half of the poem concerns the multiply voiced perception of his supposed absence, the hopeless despair related to his supposed death, the venerability and positive social distance of the hero, the desire for his appearance, the capturing of an epiphanic moment, and the establishment of eye-contact. All of this is conveyed in the same span of books and within the same cluster of events taking place in the hall of Odysseus’ palace. The same holds for αὐτός. Perceptions of the main hero as the center surrounded by different peripheries merge with those related to a higher-rank, prominent man. Emotional nearness to Odysseus’ consciousness playfully suggests that Odysseus is the source of the uttered sentences. Finally, the subjective sense of the nucleus, of the “self” of the hero, matches external deictic references to his true identity.

Some perceptions about Odysseus are shared socially amongst the Ithacan people, some are shared only by the allies, and some pertain only to the secret internal point of view of individuals (such as Penelope and Eurycleia). To this plot-related polyphony, I add the potential polyphony of the “posthumous” perceptions of worshippers in performances related to hero cults, conveyed in the text through the voices of various characters. It is beyond the scope of the current monograph to delve into this matter; nonetheless, I believe that even at a stage of research in nuce, the possibility of further meaningful polyphony should not be excluded. In this respect, it might be interesting to consider the {170|171} consolidated values of κεῖνος for dead individuals being venerated and lamented and of αὐτός for heroes’ corpses in relation to Odysseus. In any case, all these polyphonies are effective in any omniscient storytelling and in any omniscient reception.

The perceptions of Odysseus’ enemies before the contest

From his entrance into the house to the beginning of the bow-contest, Odysseus does not use κεῖνος or αὐτός to refer to himself in any of his speeches within earshot of the suitors. He uses the two pronouns only while speaking with his loyal followers and relatives. However, the suitors—or, better, the primary speaking ‘I’ through them—do use αὐτός in some references to Odysseus, and with remarkably polyphonic results. As the beggar enters the hall of his own house, the suitors wonder about his identity, and Melanthius, the unfaithful oxherd, comments that he already saw that person, whom Eumaeus had guided there. “However,” he goes on, “I do not know who precisely he is, and from what stock he claims to come.” The former clause in Greek is αὐτὸν δ’ οὐ σάφα οἶδα (17.373). Such words and such a word order allow for more polyphonic readings: “I do not know precisely who he is,” may coexist with “as for his identity, I do not know for sure,” which in turn may coexist with “as for his true identity, I really do not know,” and, finally, on a different layer of communication, it may also imply “I do not know that he is Odysseus in person.” Later on, before offending Odysseus by offering to make him his slave, Eurymachus says:

οὐκ ἀθεεὶ ὅδ’ ανὴρ ’Οδυσήϊον ἐς δόμον ἵκει·
ἔμπης μοι δοκέει δαΐδων σέλας ἔμμεναι αὐτοῦ
κὰκ κεφαλῆς, ἐπεὶ οὔ οἱ ἔνι τρίχες οὐδ’ ἠβαιαί.

Odyssey 18.353–355; Eurymachus to the suitors

It is not without some divine presence that this man comes to Odysseus’ house.
To say it all, it seems to me that some splendor of torches comes from him,
and from his head; because he has no hair, not a little.

My reading is responsive to a text that is polyphonically conceived. To any listener the adjacency ὅδ’ ανὴρ ’Οδυσήϊον will sound purposeful. Once again, it is the primary speaking ‘I’ who puts this adjacency into Eurymachus’s mouth. Then, the mention of σέλας, the “sacred splendor,” rhetorically highlights the ferocious sarcasm of the following line, which is about the hairless head of the beggar. However, the occurrence of αὐτός (354) in connection with the divine {171|172} appearance and the σέλας of the beggar could be sign of a communicative intention that is neither ironical nor counterfactual: it could well be the primary speaking ‘I’’s deliberate hint of Odysseus’ semi-divine status at that point of the story. [
115] Words can be used here to convey two different meanings meant by two different sources and addressing two different audiences, as I have also pointed out about Eumaeus’ sentence “This is what we shepherds have to eat, sacred piglets.” [116] Finally, slightly before the bow-contest starts, the text reports an anonymous comment by one suitor to another:

ἦ τις θηητὴρ καὶ ἐπίκλοπος ἔπλετο τόξων·
ἤ ῥά νύ που τοιαῦτα καὶ αὐτῷ οἴκοθι κεῖται,
ἢ ὅ γ’ ἐφορμᾶται ποιησέμεν, …

Odyssey 21.397–399; one suitor to another

Truly, this is someone who appreciates bows and steals them for himself;
yes, either he himself has such things lying in his house,
or else he is eager to make one, …

Behind line 398, I see the following overlapping polyphony: the suitor infers (ῥά νύ) that the beggar in front of him has such things at home; the primary speaking ‘I’ lets that suitor infer that the beggar and the one who has such things at home are the same person; the primary speaking ‘I’ conveys that the anonymous suitor’s inference is right, because Odysseus does have such things at home; the primary speaking ‘I’ conveys the identity of the beggar; finally, the primary speaking ‘I’ lets his external audience enjoy both different—and overlapping—roles of Odysseus and all the mentioned communicative functions.

The primary speaking ‘I’ seems to use αὐτός to keep Odysseus unquestionably at the center of everybody’s attention (including his own attention and empathy) among the suitors and among the unfaithful maidservants. As soon as the beggar begins to beg (17.365), the storyteller remarks: “Having taken pity on him, they gave, and they marveled at him [ἐθάμβεον αὐτόν, 367], and they were asking each other who he was and where he came from.” The center-periphery idea (reinforced by three uses of ὅδε attesting that the beggar was near the speaking suitors [117] ) is here charged with the potentially ambiguous meaning of ἐθάμβεον: the low-emotional sense of “wondering” can, in fact, co-exist with the high-emotional sense of “being struck with astonishment,” {172|173} which is the sense in other Homeric passages. [118] I suggest that the combination ἐθάμβεον + αὐτόν indicates that a special visual and emotional relationship is to be established between the suitors and the beggar, much before they could realize the beggar’s true identity. Or, at least, this is what the primary speaking ‘I’ plays with. It also may indicate polyphonically that the beggar’s true identity was, in fact, going to be relentlessly “imposed” upon the suitors, and the suitors were starting to perceive the truth, at least at a non-verbal level. Later on, when Odysseus invites the unfaithful maidservants to go comfort Penelope, the storyteller not only structures the reference to him as a prominent center surrounded by the servants as the periphery, but he also conveys that the words to follow come from the real Odysseus, king and husband, not from the beggar: “The maidservants of enduring Odysseus took turns in making the fire blaze. Then, among them, he himself, Zeus-born Odysseus of many devices, spoke” (αὐτὰρ ὁ τῇσιν / αὐτός διογενὴς μετέφη πολύμητις ’Οδυσσεύς, 18.311–312).

Odysseus αὐτός wins (Odyssey 22–23)

The ultimate instance of the hero as the center of attention is when Odysseus hits the mark and begins the massacre of the suitors. The periphery is constituted by all the people surrounding him in the hall of the palace. The triumph of the hero is becoming evident not only at the level of struggling, but of revelation: he is eventually going to reveal himself in his full personality, in his truest identity. The nucleus of Odysseus’ “self” is going to be openly shown (book xxii begins, after all, with the narration of the hero’s removal of his rags). Accordingly, the third-person pronoun that is predominant in the telling of the massacre is αὐτός, which occurs nine times. κεῖνος is not used in the episode.

As Odysseus kills Antinous (15–21), the suitors still do not realize who the beggar is. In the following speech by the main hero, αὐτός in fact connotes his revelation:

ὦ κύνες, οὔ μ’ ἔτ’ ἐφάσκεθ’ ὑπότροπον οἴκαδε νεῖσθαι
δήμου ἄπο Τρώων, ὅτι μοι κατεκείρετε οἶκον {173|174}
δμῳῇσίν τε γυναιξὶ παρευνάζεσθε βιαίως
αὐτοῦ τε ζώοντος ὑπεμνάασθε γυναῖκα

Odyssey 22.35–38; Odysseus to the suitors

Oh, dogs, you were saying that I would never return and come home
from the land of the Trojans, which is why you were wasting the house,
and were lying beside the maidservants, violently,
and were courting my wife, while my person was still alive.

The two “I” marks (μ’, 35 and μοι, 36) are essential: for the first time, the narrative motifs of the main hero coming back home (35–36) and of the suitors wasting the hero’s house while trying to conquer his wife (36–38), motifs in which Odysseus is repeatedly referred to in the third person, [
119] are overtly connected to the speaking “I,” who now strips himself of any disguise. In such a context, the genitive absolute αὐτοῦ … ζώοντος is of great importance, as it reveals the crucial correspondence between the speaking “I”, the “I” coming back home, and the “I” αὐτός, the same and the real one, all at once. On the whole, these lines constitute one of the characteristic moves of recognition scenes in the second half of the Odyssey, in Gainsford’s terms; more precisely, it represents motif R2, the “recognition” whereby the protagonist reveals himself. [120] Gainsford does not mention this passage, however, as he understands Odysseus’ “restoration of relationships” and “reintegration of the oikos” as exclusively pertaining to the family and householders (plus Athena). [121] However, from the formal point of view, this passage should also be counted as a significant variant of the motif in which the main hero lets his addressee(s) explicitly know who he is.

As Eurymachus urges his companions to struggle, he boldly envisions a decisive attack upon Odysseus that might eventually bring him to death (75–78):

… ἐπὶ δ’ αὐτῷ πάντες ἔχωμεν
ἀθρόοι …

Odyssey 22.75–76; Eurymachus to the other suitors {174|175}

… let us all steer against him,
crowded together …

In this case, αὐτός not only structures Odysseus as the center and the suitors attacking him as the periphery, but also cross-references the Iliadic usage of αὐτός for corpses or injured heroes. Confirmation of that comes from line 80, where the primary speaking ‘I’ echoes Eurymachus’ impudent effort to turn Odysseus into a corpse by saying: “[he] made a rush at him, crying his terrible cry” (ἆλτο δ’ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ / σμερδαλέα ἰάχων, 80–81).

Some further occurrences of αὐτός reflect the primary speaking ‘I’’s centering of Odysseus and expressions of emotional nearness to him:

αὐτὰρ ὅ γ’, ὄφρα μὲν αὐτῷ ἀμύνεσθαι ἔσαν ἰοί,
τόφρα μνηστήρων ἕνα γ’ αἰεὶ ᾧ ἐνὶ οἴκῳ
βάλλε τιτυσκόμενος· τοὶ δ’ ἀγχιστῖνοι ἔπιπτον.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ λίπον ἰοὶ ὀϊστεύοντα ἄνακτα,
τόξον μὲν πρὸς σταθμὸν ἐϋσταθέος μεγάροιο
ἔκλιν’ ἑστάμεναι, πρὸς ἐνώπια παμφανόωντα,
αὐτὸς δ’ ἀμφ’ ὤμοισι σάκος θέτο τετραθέλυμνον

Odyssey 22.116–122; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

As for him, so long as he had arrows to defend himself,
he was shooting the suitors one by one in the house,
aiming at them. And they were falling one upon another.
Then, when the arrows failed the master as he was shooting,
the bow, he leaned against the doorjamb of the well-based hall,
against the luminous sidewalls,
and he put a four-layer shield about his shoulders

The isolation effect comes first from the use of the discourse marker αὐτάρ (116), which, as I shall show in the next chapter, is quite often a thematic and visual cue insuring the focus of performer and listeners on a single individual. The first αὐτός of the passage (116) is actually a dative of advantage, working as an indirect reflexive (“to defend himself”). The second (122) marks the visual shift from the bow to Odysseus (from object to individual). However, both uses have the overarching function of focusing all attention as closely as possible upon this thrilling moment. {175|176}

The exchange with nurse and wife—second part

The first lines of book twenty-three narrate the exchange between nurse and wife. Eurycleia tries to convince Penelope that Odysseus ipse has really arrived:

ἦλθε μὲν αὐτὸς ζωὸς ἐφέστιος, εὗρε δὲ καὶ σὲ
καὶ παῖδ’ ἐν μεγάροισι …

Odyssey 23.55–56; Eurycleia to Penelope

He has come in person, alive, at his hearth; he has found you
as well as his son in the halls …

At that point, Penelope expresses her incredulity to the nurse (59–68). [
122] Someone else must have killed the suitors, because Odysseus has perished:

… αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς
ὤλεσε τηλοῦ νόστον Ἀχαιΐδος, ὤλετο δ’ αὐτός.

Odyssey 23.67–68; Penelope to Eurycleia

… As for Odysseus,
he has lost his nostos far from the land of the Achaeans; he is lost himself.

αὐτός here certainly functions as a marker of the nucleus of the individual, in contrast to the object nostos or to the whole event of “losing nostos”; it also isolates a single individual from a plurality (in line with the discourse marker αὐτάρ, 68). Moreover, αὐτός singles out Odysseus as a leader or a higher-rank person. However, in light of Eurycleia’s use of αὐτός a few lines before (55, as previously discussed) and, more generally, of the cross-referential strategies typical of αὐτός and κεῖνος in reference to Odysseus, two elements of polyphony can be detected. The thematic motif concerning Odysseus’ supposed death and lamented absence has usually included κεῖνος instead of αὐτός so far. [
123] Therefore, a kind of lexical deviation can be considered, which entails a particular emphasis on αὐτός. Moreover, in addition to the meaning “he himself,” an allusion to the core of Odysseus’ identity may also underlie the usage. It was not Odysseus himself who killed the suitors; rather, someone else, maybe some immortal figure, did it, says Penelope (63–64). In accordance with this thought, αὐτός potentially competes against such an indefinite immortal figure: {176|177} Penelope does not want to speak about the one who carried out the massacre, whom Eurycleia identifies as Odysseus, but she speaks about the real one, the true Odysseus, Odysseus αὐτός.

Before the moment of open recognition between husband and wife, both Telemachus and Odysseus use αὐτός to convey to Penelope that the true “self” of the returning hero is now very close. Telemachus suggests that Penelope question him: “Why do you keep away from my father, nor sit at his side nor ask for speeches nor question him?” (τίφθ’ οὕτω πατρὸς νοσφίζεαι, οὐδὲ παρ’ αὐτὸν / ἑζομένη μύθοισιν ἀνείρεαι οὐδὲ μεταλλᾷς; 98–99). As in the case of Alcinous sitting beside Odysseus at 8.95, αὐτός here evokes the center-periphery setting, with Odysseus as the center and Penelope as the periphery. Yet, Telemachus’ awareness of, and pride in, his father’s presence—see 124 “Look at this yourself, dear father” (αὐτὸς ταῦτά γε λεῦσσε, πάτερ φίλε)—may be echoed in the utterance of αὐτός at 23.98, addressed to her mother. Later on, after the bath that gives him back his divine beauty, Odysseus provokes his wife about the bed by addressing Eurycleia with the following words (while Penelope is listening): ἀλλ’ ἄγε μοι, μαῖα, στόρεσον λέχος, ὄφρα καὶ αὐτὸς / λέξομαι (“And now, come, nurse, lay a bed for me, so that I myself may lie down,” 171–172). Penelope seems {177|178} to perfectly grasp the hint by immediately resuming with αὐτός, while speaking of the bed: τόν ῥ’ αὐτὸς ἐποίει (“which he made in person,” 178).

After the anagnōrisis at 205–210, Odysseus continues to use αὐτός while telling about his adventures (cf. 253, 266, 281, 357); each occurrence is followed by an explicit “I” mark, which sets the seal on the correspondence between the speaking “I” and the true Odysseus.

Finally, the primary speaking ‘I’ uses αὐτός twice (at 307 and 332) as an indirect discourse-marker referring to the speaking “I”; this confirms the performer’s emotional nearness to the revealed hero.

The twelve occurrences of αὐτός in book twenty-three ultimately refer to the dramatized reintegration of Odysseus in his palace, in his family, and in his “self.” Odysseus αὐτός wins not only in the number of its usages, but also symbolically, at every level. Moreover, the polyphony of αὐτός, as it is articulated by Eurycleia, by Telemachus, by Penelope, and by Odysseus himself, retains its power independently of the instant that marks Penelope’s open recognition of Odysseus. Penelope uses αὐτός as she expresses her disbelief, as well as when she seems to grasp the hint at the bed maker. In this sense, book twenty-three is continuous with book xix: the masterfulness of the construction of dialogues rests on all the possible polyphonies at any communicative layer, with the linear progression from non-recognition to recognition being only one of them.

The final resuming polyphony (Odyssey 24)

The last book of the poem leaves us with an emblematic balance between Odysseus κεῖνος and Odysseus αὐτός. It is a numerical as well as a symbolic balance, which resumes not only all the previous values but also what the Ithacan hero is eventually ready to say about the multiple aspects of his own personality. I believe it is not casual that all the final instances of κεῖνος and of αὐτός are uttered exclusively by Odysseus ipse. The occurrences at issue are all in the recognition scene with Laertes, who is the last— and, thus, the highest—entry in the scale of affection. Odysseus first uses αὐτός in his “lying” tale:

εὔχετο δ’ ἐξ Ἰθάκης γένος ἔμμεναι, αὐτὰρ ἔφασκε
Λαέρτην Ἀρκεισιάδην πατέρ’ ἔμμεναι αὐτῷ.

Odyssey 24.269–270; Odysseus to Laertes

He [my guest] was proclaiming that by lineage he came from Ithaca; to be precise, he was saying that
Laertes son of Arcesius was father to him. {178|179}

No translation can render the masterful play of these lines, which is not only syntactical, but also performative. The clause at line 270 potentially coincides with Odysseus’ clause reported by the beggar, which I would render by using quotation marks: “to be precise, he was saying: ‘Laertes son of Arcesius is my father.’” The performative overlap consists in the fact that Odysseus really is uttering such a clause, and the only way in which he can save the double interpretation “his father”-“my father” is by exploiting the polyvalence of αὐτῷ. Odysseus knows how to be polyphonic even with himself. Interestingly, at the end of this first part of Odysseus’ speech, Laertes weeps (κατὰ δάκρυον εἴβων, 280). A second echoing αὐτός comes a few lines later (279), within a parenthetical—not essential—relative clause (similar to Eurycleia’s at 20.136): “[the women] whom he himself [αὐτός] had chosen.” More striking are the uses of κεῖνος immediately before the open revelation:

οἷς χαίρων μὲν ἐγὼν ἀπέπεμπον ἐκεῖνον,
χαῖρε δὲ κεῖνος ἰών …

Odyssey 24.312–313; Odysseus to Laertes

Glad of them [the birds upon the right], I sent that one [Odysseus] on his way,
and that one was glad too, as he went …

The distance between the speaking “I” and the κεῖνος-subject is blurred. The mind’s eye of any recipient is invited to focus on ἐκεῖνον—that is, Odysseus departing, Odysseus starting his absence. Yet, the gladness of the speaking “I”turns out to mirror Odysseus’ gladness. Eye-contact and reciprocity reinforce the special relationship between the two. The dialectic of the two fictional characters in Odysseus’ narration becomes the dialectic of two aspects of the same character: the hero free to speak about himself (“I”) and what the hero looks like from the outside (κεῖνος).

Finally, the two pronouns occur together in Odysseus’ revelation to his father:

κεῖνος μὲν δὴ ὅδ’ αὐτὸς ἐγώ, πάτερ, ὃν σὺ μεταλλᾷς,
ἤλυθον εἰκοστῷ ἔτεϊ ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν.

Odyssey 24.321–322; Odysseus to Laertes

That one is here, it is myself, here I am, father, the one you ask about;
in the twentieth year I have come to the fatherland. {179|180}

Far from simply being the first instance of an idiom that associates the two pronouns, [
125] this line presents an extraordinary convergence of indications and implied meanings. Polyphony eventually comes full circle, with respect to both the previous hints in book twenty-four and the whole poem. Odysseus uses κεῖνος to explicitly refer to all the previous uses of κεῖνος: “the Odysseus κεῖνος all of you were lamenting over and were looking for,” “the one that was referred to by κεῖνος,” and “the one that already appeared to the eyes of several people.” The hero resumes all the previous values of the pronoun and, at the same time, makes it the mark of his sudden appearance to Laertes. Revelation through αὐτός is not new (see 21.207 and 22.38); however, this time Odysseus’ acknowledgment of his true identity and of his “self” cannot be disassociated from the acknowledgment of his being κεῖνος. Ιn other words, he eventually admits to being and to having been both, αὐτός and κεῖνος. This solemn statement closes the whole series of utterances of both pronouns throughout the various episodes. [126] As such, it summarizes a fundamental fact, which is personal and social, private and public, at the same time: Odysseus cannot be either κεῖνος or αὐτός; he is both. By means of both pronouns, he is able to appear and to hide himself; by means of both, he is recognized as a higher-rank and venerable person; by means of both, he shows complementary aspects of his being a hero—that is, social superiority among mortals and semi-divine status. The internal identity, the “inside,” represented by αὐτός, cannot be constructed (or reconstructed) without external signs, the “outside” represented by κεῖνος. Starobinski (1975:351) says that at the end of the poem “a kind of vertigo blurs the edge between outside and inside.” Odyssey 24.321 certainly blurs the edge between αὐτός and κεῖνος, but it also reveals that they both mark Odysseus’ existential polyphony.

Conclusion: “I am the inside and the outside”

The interlacing of references to Odysseus through αὐτός and κεῖνος in the second half of the poem is due to the potentially polyphonic character of every utterance of the two pronouns. Following Ducrot, polyphony is detectable whenever a seemingly monologic utterance is read as a crystallized dialogue (some scholars call it diaphony). In Bakhtin’s terms, through polyphony the {180|181} literary text makes evident the centripetal forces that are inherent in the work. Homeric uses of αὐτός and κεῖνος reflect the centripetal force of overlapping and cross-referential values that blur the unity of action and the unity of characters: Odysseus is αὐτός even when he is disguised; he is κεῖνος even when he is close and present to the speaker; the suitors and Eurycleia use αὐτός before openly recognizing Odysseus’ identity, and Odysseus points at himself by means of κεῖνος several times in front of supposedly unknowing characters; finally, Penelope uses both pronouns to express disbelief, as well as to wish for her husband’s epiphany.

While chapter 1 focused on κεῖνος beyond the Odyssey and beyond Homer, the current chapter focused on αὐτός. The variety of nuances of its meaning, especially in Homer, brings us to a summary account of its pragmatic and cognitive implications. In brief, αὐτός in Homer never corresponds to the plain third-person pronoun “he/she/it.” Unlike κεῖνος, αὐτός retrieves the mental representation of a referent that is already in focus; however, αὐτός marks a conspicuous aspect of the referent in relation to the discourse fragment that contains it, as much as κεῖνος does. The conspicuity in the case of αὐτός relies on some cognitive operations implied by the speaker regarding the αὐτός-subject, such as placing it in a center-periphery system, recognizing the identity of someone, and underscoring the return “again” of the referent for different discourse purposes. These cognitive activities are linguistically marked by the αὐ-component of the word, which expresses isolation, zooming in, and “return.” The basic functions that we can derive, then, are the following: αὐτός may be an intensifier, or a demonstrative of identity, or a focus-keeping marker (the latter is less frequent, and it usually involves objects). The nominative singular forms are the favorite ones in Homer because they best grammaticalize the aforementioned cognitive aspects. Within the intensifying function, special attention is drawn to αὐτός as indirect reflexive. Those who utter αὐτός may “intrude” into the referent’s mind or soul, and/or show emotional nearness to him/her.

Odysseus αὐτός in the first half of the poem is a higher-rank individual isolated from the plurality of his companions. He is the visual and thematic center of attention at the Phaeacian court. He is a hero whose core of identity is going to be hidden. Moreover, the primary speaking ‘I’ conveys emotional nearness to the inside of the hero while the latter is alone (book five, book thirteen). Such third-person uses of αὐτός ultimately serve to mirror Odysseus’ first-person perceptions while he becomes the primary speaking ‘I’ himself (books 8–12). The second part of the poem gives the virtuosic primary speaking ‘I’ the possibility to play with multiple meanings of αὐτός and κεῖνος referring to Odysseus. With respect to the first half, the two pronouns deal with two essential additional elements. First, Odysseus’ real identity is going to be progressively shared {181|182} among the Ithacans. Second, Odysseus becomes physically reachable, visually perceptible to the eyes of others. His “self” begins to be externalized. The hero is no longer far off or absent. The beggar has to protect his “self” from the suitors, but he also has to show it to them in order to hit the mark. Analogously, he starts to draw connections between the master κεῖνος and his own sudden appearance. The characters witnessing his full revelation use both pronouns as well, sometimes to express their own internal point of view, sometimes to express the point of view of others. Generally speaking, there is an oscillation, which holds true for Odysseus’ relatives, loyal allies, and enemies, between the private and public, covert and overt perceptions of the hero and of the beggar. [127]

The polyphony that I have detailed highlights some basic points. To begin with, Odysseus’ literary substance articulates an intrinsic polyphony: he is the hero of many-sidedness and he succeeds in his nostos thanks to the display of many and different qualities, involving his outside as well as his inside. Starobinski says: “Ulysses’ mastery derives from his ability to appraise, while moving through an almost ubiquitously hostile world, the exact portion of himself that can be externalized.” [128] When people speak of him as κεῖνος, he seems to deliberately hint at himself as αὐτός; when people wonder about him as αὐτός, he tries to convey his visual perceptibility as κεῖνος. The polyphony of each pronoun and of the two taken together reflect the polyphony of Odysseus as a character. Considering the many facets of Odysseus’ character provokes further thought about the many facets of other characters, such as Eurycleia or Penelope. The latter’s use of αὐτός and κεῖνος, for example, turns out to be in accord with the problematic fragmentation of her personality. Harsch (1950:11), considering Odysseus’ signs of his presence to Penelope before the open recognition, writes: “Either Penelope is stupid or by this time she suspects this man’s identity (unless, of course, the poet is manipulating his characters as puppets).” My own view is that the primary speaking ‘I’ presents characters in a sufficiently unitary way, so that they are instrumental in the logic and in the interest of the storyline and, at the same time, he does manipulate them as puppets. Eurycleia, Penelope, Philoetius, not differently from Eumaeus, react strangely and use puzzling wordings because they do not play just one single role (nurse, wife, oxherd, and swineherd, respectively). They play different roles, or, better, the primary speaking ‘I’ uses the words that he puts in the mouth of these characters to convey much more than the events of the storyline. There is no need of think that anticipatory signs “betray” the narrative and the narratological structure, or of stupid characters behaving illogically. {182|183} Rather, it is the performance of the text that triggers references and meanings involving more roles, more situations, and more layers. I conclude as follows: it is possible that the version of the Odyssey we read was not meant to encompass the same horizons of expectation by the “there and then’” audiences as by us today. It is possible that the characters were used during the performance to refer to other communicative situations and to other (contemporary) realities known to them. I am thinking not only of variants in the myths, but also of cult-practices. At the verbal level of epic performances, this might well have implied what I introduced in chapter 2—namely, layering. Polyphony enhances layering, and layering enhances polyphony. {183|}


[ back ] 1. Bakhtin 1984:81.

[ back ] 2. Bakhtin 1981:272.

[ back ] 3. For a diachronic perspective on dialogism in epic tradition, see Bakker 2006b:3.

[ back ] 4. Ducrot 1984a:3.

[ back ] 5. I am quoting the English translation by Muir (Racine 1960:68).

[ back ] 6. Ducrot’s French text (1984a:22).

[ back ] 7. This example shows the subtler of the two representative modalities of polyphony of which Ducrot speaks, the other being the “splitting of the utterance” (“dédoublement de l’énonciation”), exemplified in “John said: ‘I will come’” (Ducrot 1984a:17).

[ back ] 8. Kroon calls this phenomenon “diaphony,” that is, “when a central reporter … phrases two distinct voices or opinions, not formally set apart as in a strictly dialogical discourse type, but inhabiting the same utterance or move” (Kroon 1995:111). The reason why the present work does not adopt the notion of diaphony is that in Kroon’s view diaphony deals with evidence of a desired communicative exchange with the audience (cf. Kroon 1995:114), whereas the passages here analyzed deal with embedded voices that potentially have a broader spectrum of interpretations—regarding, that is, not only the external audience but also the internal characters, and leaving the intention of a communicative exchange covert or blurred.

[ back ] 9. Odysseus κεῖνος and Odysseus αὐτός comprise respectively 57% and 44% of all occurrences of κεῖνος and of αὐτός (masculine, singular) in the Odyssey. This is a highly significant amount numerically; the most frequent referent for κεῖνος and for αὐτός after Odysseus is Telemachus (10 times κεῖνος, 0.9%, and 42 times αὐτός, 15%).

[ back ] 10. Kühner and Gerth 1955, I:651; Smyth 1980:302 and 306; Frisk 1960–1972, I:191.

[ back ] 11. Kühner and Gerth 1955, I:651.

[ back ] 12. Humbert 1972:34. The demonstrative part of αὐτός rests on the implied gesture of “controlling” the object of reference (“les démonstratifs impliquent un geste situant l’objet dans l’ ou le [ὅδε, οὗτος, ἐκεῖνος], ou contrôlant son [αὐτός],” Humbert 1972:29; bold and italics in the text).

[ back ] 13. “Comme c’est de ‘lui’ que l’on parle, ce ‘lui’ est en fort relief dans la macro-structure que les interlocuteurs se construisent à partir de ce qui vient d’être dit (ou écrit). C’est le référent qu’on rappellera le plus vite à la conscience. … Nous l’appellons de l’idio-cosme contextuel” (Sadoulet 1984:62–63; italics in the text).

[ back ] 14. “Αὐτός permet donc à la fois de restreindre le dénoté du substantif à ses limites propres et de le considérer dans sa plénitude; c’est dire qu’il assure ‘ de ce dénoté.” (Biraud 1990:98; italics in the text).

[ back ] 15. “[S]ive Graece αὐτός, sive Latine ipse … id proprie nihil aliud significat, quam . Qui autem tali pronomine notionem eius rei, de qua loquitur, iterat, is facit hoc eo consilio, ut se quam maxime de ista re loqui ostendat. Hinc primarius istius pronominis usus in eo versatur, ut rem ab aliis rebus discernendam esse indicet” (Hermann 1827:308–309; italics in the text).

[ back ] 16. A comprehensive account is given in LfgrE.

[ back ] 17. Monro 1891:218.

[ back ] 18. Cf. Monro 1891:218 and Adrados 1992:319.

[ back ] 19. Chantraine 1942–1953, II:155–156.

[ back ] 20. Chantraine 1942–1953, II:153.

[ back ] 21. Smyth 1920:302.

[ back ] 22. Wagnon 1880:VI.

[ back ] 23. The etymology of αὐτός is considered to be obscure or uncertain (thus, Chantraine 1999:144, Schwyzer 1939–1971, I:613, Frisk 1960–1972, I:191, and LfgrE s.v. αὐτός, 1627). Conversely, Hermann (1827:308), Crusius (1844:93), Düntzer (1872:581), Palmer (1980:286), Risch (1974:369) and Taillardat (1987:79) draw the connection with αὖ and αὖτε.

[ back ] 24. In Homeric language, αὐτός much more often refers to the third person (“he/she/it-αὐτός”) than to the first or second person (“I-αὐτός,” “you-αὐτός”).

[ back ] 25. See, among others, Moravcsik 1972; Baker 1995; König 1998 and 2001.

[ back ] 26. For the former, see Bertocchi 2000 and König 1998:1; for the latter, see König 2001:757 and Puddu 2005:189, 196 and 206–223.

[ back ] 27. See König 2001:748 (from which I have drawn my examples). As for Homeric language, the inclusive uses are typically expressed by καὶ αὐτός.

[ back ] 28. König 2001:749.

[ back ] 29. Wagnon (1880:1–5) already pointed out such cases, even though he used a different terminology.

[ back ] 30. Further Homeric instances of αὐτός designating a socially higher-rank individual between two or more people are Iliad 2.185; 3.106; 6.18; Odyssey 3.402; 13.21; 19.114.

[ back ] 31. As for the Catalogue of Ships, see also lines 578 and 612 (the αὐτός-subject being Agamemnon). In ch. 4, I point out how often in the Catalogue the discourse markers αὖ, αὖτε, and αὐτάρ single out—and zoom in on—leaders.

[ back ] 32. These uses of αὐτάρ will be analyzed in ch. 4; and see also below.

[ back ] 33. It could be added that αὐτοῦ in this case includes Priam’s standpoint as he (ἐνόησ’) Achilles. More on αὐτός and recognition will follow in a later section.

[ back ] 34. See, for example, Iliad 2.578, 588; 3.106; 5.482; 9.470; Odyssey 4.439, 642; 11.388; 19.196 (single individuals surrounded by other individuals); Iliad 3.196 and 311; 6.42; Odyssey 14.23; 10.165; 21.391 (individuals in contrast to objects or to animals).

[ back ] 35. Iliad 1.437 and 487; 3.113; 10.572; 11.619 and 708; 13.684; 14.129; 15.296; Odyssey 8.574; 10.26; 14.265 (= 17.434).

[ back ] 36. As I will illustrate in the next chapter, “on the other hand” is one of the possible original meanings of αὖ, etymologically relying on the same IE root *au– that Latin aut and autem come from.

[ back ] 37. For αὐτός as “by himself, autonomously,” see Iliad 2.233; 3.282; 9.680; 10.345; 12.272; Odyssey 1.33 and 216; 16.404; 19.403 and 20.263.

[ back ] 38. See, for example, Iliad 1.246; 9.301; Odyssey 11.602; 19.329.

[ back ] 39. See Wagnon 1880:16.

[ back ] 40. Obviously, this tends to occur mostly in the Iliad; usually, singular and non-nominative cases of αὐτός are involved; see Iliad 2.417; 4.470, 493, 504; 5.42, 58, 294, 299; 13.187; 16.506, 561, 601 and 661; 17.50; 20.395 and 470; 21.318; 22.66; 24.421 and 666; Odyssey 8.527; 24.21 (Agamemnon’s ghost); 24.65 and 525. For plural forms, see Iliad 4.237; 7.333; Odyssey 24.80. References to injured heroes occur at Iliad 11.577, 592, 835; 14.419 and 428; 16.510; 21.167. On the relevance of corpses in Homer, see Griffin 1980:44–49.

[ back ] 41. The others occur at Iliad 17.10, 236, 359, 397, 510 and 19.5, 284. Significantly, at Iliad 23.66, Patroclus’ ghost (ψυχή) appears to Achilles πάντ’ αὐτῷ μέγεθός τε καὶ ὄμματα κάλ’ ἐϊκυῖα / καὶ φωνήν, καὶ τοῖα περὶ χροῒ εἵματα ἕστο, “utterly resembling him in stature and for the fine eyes, and in the voice, and was wearing such clothes on the body”—here, heroic essence and physical identity blend together in αὐτός; see also Iliad 24.7.

[ back ] 42. Analogously, at Iliad XIX 284 Briseis’ lament over the corpse of Patroclus starts with a description of the girl flinging herself about it (ἀμφ’ αὐτῷ χυμένη). The same phrase—likewise famous—occurs at Odyssey viii 527, where Odysseus’ bursting into tears is compared to a wife grieving over her dead husband.

[ back ] 43. Nagy 1999:208.

[ back ] 44. According to Griffin (1980:48n126), “At Iliad I 4 the corpses are identified as ‘the heroes themselves.’”

[ back ] 45. Moravcsik 1972, König 1998:10 and 2001:756.

[ back ] 46. Puddu 2005:90–92.

[ back ] 47. Iliad 9.542 and 14.498; see Griffin 1995:99.

[ back ] 48. De Jong and Nünlist (2004:70–71) assume that Achilles’ lyre is referred to from the point of view of the arriving characters.

[ back ] 49. The reading I have proposed indirectly lends support to Martin’s argument concerning the close contact between Homer and Achilles as focalizers (Martin 1989:235–237) and also to Nagy’s hypothesis that the famous duals reflect the standpoint of Achilles, who tends to exclude Odysseus from the count (Nagy 1999:53–55).

[ back ] 50. See, e.g., Iliad 3.362; 5.299; 11.577; 17.10; Odyssey 2.417; 3.460; 15.285; 21.433; 23.98.

[ back ] 51. König 2001:755.

[ back ] 52. Puddu 2005:216.

[ back ] 53. Sadoulet 1984:62–63; italics in the text.

[ back ] 54. Of course, the simple fact that Greek is a pro-drop language is to be considered as well, as any nominative pronoun brings about emphasis anyway.

[ back ] 55. See the ad hoc graphs in Puddu (2005:214–215).

[ back ] 56. Chantraine 1942–1953, II:157, where, for αὐτός with a personal pronoun, he cites: Iliad 1.271; 3.51; 13.495; 14.162; 16.47; 19.384; 20.171; Odyssey 9.421. The use of ἑαυτόν in Homer is not frequent; much more common is the combination of personal pronoun + αὐτός (inflected) or + the genitive αὐτοῦ. Puddu (2005:189) shows that ancient Indo-European languages usually have different forms for intensifiers and for reflexives (as in Latin ipse and se). αὐτός in Homer can also be used with possessive adjectives, usually referring to the grammatical subject of the clause. Linguists call them emphatic possessives. A famous instance of that is Odyssey 1.7, where Odysseus’ companions are said to have perished because of their own recklessness (αὐτῶν γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ὄλοντο). I have already commented on this passage in ch. 1. Here, I add that in light of the cases in which αὐτός means “autonomously,” the communicative intention underlying αὐτῶν along with σφετέρῃσιν might be to highlight that the companions brought on their deaths by themselves—that is, independently of anybody else (and especially of Odysseus). For emphatic possessives, see also Iliad 6.446, with ἐμόν + genitive αὐτοῦ.

[ back ] 57. Chantraine 1942–1953, II:157, where he cites Iliad 3.333; 7.337; 9.342; 20.55; Odyssey 2.125; 4.247; 10.27.

[ back ] 58. In Chomsky’s terms (1981), the antecedent has to lie inside the governing category of the reflexive. A different perspective is offered by Reinhart and Reuland (1993), who express the “rule” of reflexive marks in terms of predicates: a reflexive mark and its antecedent have to be co-arguments of the same predicate. If the governing categories are different, or if the marks are not co-arguments of the same predicate, we do not have proper reflexives.

[ back ] 59. As I have earlier explained, the term “antecedent” is inadequate. In my reading, I adopt exclusively “referent-in-the-mind,” which covers verbally explicit as well as non-verbal referent triggers.

[ back ] 60. See the seminal works by Hagège (1974), Clements (1975), and also Sells (1987). Roughly, the antecedent of the logophoric pronoun must be the one “whose speech, thoughts, feelings, or general state of consciousness are reported” (Clements 1975:141).

[ back ] 61. See, in particular, König and Siemund 2000:194–198.

[ back ] 62. See Sells (1987:457), who identifies this type of “primitive role of discourse” as “self.”

[ back ] 63. A similarly effective case is Iliad 17.406–407, where Achilles’ belief that Patroclus is still alive is expressed by the following reported thought: “He had no thought that Patroclus would storm the city without himself [ἄνευ ἕθεν], nor with himself [σὺν αὐτῷ] either.” Interestingly enough, accented ἑ and αὐτός work equally as indirect reflexives. Another instance outside of Homeric diction is Xenophon Anabasis I 1.5 [Κῦρος] ἐπεμελεῖτο ὡς [οἱ βάρβαροι] πολεμεῖν τε ἱκανοὶ εἴησαν καὶ εὐνοϊκῶς ἔχοιεν αὐτῷ “He took care that they should be capable soldiers and should feel kindly toward himself” (tr. adapted from Brownson [1968]).

[ back ] 64. Sells 1987:457. “I understand pivot in a very physical sense, as the ‘center of deixis’” (Sells 1987:455–456).

[ back ] 65. See also Iliad 5.17; 8.280; 14.297; Odyssey 8.68; 11.388 and 22.175.

[ back ] 66. Culy (1997) stresses that the indirect-discourse function is the most typical of logophoric pronouns.

[ back ] 67. Cf. the opposition αὐτός—κεῖνος in Herodotean indirect speeches, as commented upon by Bakker (2006a:100–101) and mentioned in ch. 1 (p. 39 with n93). In the imagined “direct” version, αὐτός corresponds to “I” and κεῖνος to the “non-I.” As for Xenophon, see Anabasis VII 4.20 ὁ Ξενοφῶν δεῖται τοὺς ὁμήρους τε αὐτῷ παραδοῦναι καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος, εἰ βούλεται, συστρατεύεσθαι· εἰ δὲ μή, αὐτὸν ἐᾶσαι, “Xenophon asked [Seuthes] to give over the hostages to him and to join him on an expedition to the mountain, if he so pleased; otherwise, to let him go by himself (tr. Brownson [1968]).

[ back ] 68. Sells 1987:455 “The source is the one who makes the report (for example, the speaker).”

[ back ] 69. In ch. 1 (p. 25), I mentioned Conte’s label “empathic anaphor” referring to third-person pronouns that are emotionally charged and that convey the speaker’s nearness. What I am proposing here about several occurrences of αὐτός is a very similar idea.

[ back ] 70. See Taillardat 1987:80–82.

[ back ] 71. Within the grammar of Plains Cree dialect—one of the Algonquian languages spoken across Canada—Wolfart (1973:16–19) shows that two different types of third-person pronouns are used to convey “obviativity” vs. “proximity” regarding the referent with respect to the speaker. The former marks a person who is not in focus, while the latter marks a person that is in focus or “near” the speaker. The same phenomenon is observed in Menomini language—a Native American language spoken in Wisconsin and in Michigan—by Bloomfield (1962:38), who says: “The proximate third person represents the topic of discourse, and the person nearest the speaker’s point of view, or the person earlier spoken of and already known.”

[ back ] 72. The instances quoted by Wagnon concerning single gods (mostly of intensifying αὐτός + the name of the god) are Iliad 2.309, 4.167, 12.236, 13.319, 14.54, 15.610; Odyssey 6.188, 14.273 and 310 (Zeus); Iliad 2.827, 5.433, 17.322, and 21.547 (Apollo); Iliad 13.678 (Poseidon); Iliad 24.360 and 691 (Hermes); Iliad 4.132 and Odyssey 3.76 (Athena); Iliad 3.383 (Aphrodite); Iliad 19.120 (Hera); Iliad 5.51 (Artemis).

[ back ] 73. Wagnon cites only Odyssey 2.246 and 21.227, with reference to Odysseus, Odyssey 24.506 (Telemachus), and Iliad 24.418 (Priam). I would not exclude the possibility that the αὐτός that introduces Socrates’ appearance in Aristophanes’ Clouds (218–219) echoes this specific usage—humorously, of course. Strepsiades notices somebody suspended up in the air. φέρε, τίς γὰρ οὗτος οὑπὶ τῆς κρεμάθρας ἀνήρ; “Hey, who is this man hanging on the basket?” The disciple: αὐτός. Strepsiades: τίς αὐτός; The disciple: Σωκράτης.

[ back ] 74. Further instances in which αὐτός implies the speaker’s recognition of the “nucleus” of someone’s identity are Iliad 18.359 (Zeus speaking about Hera); 23.66 and 107 (about Patroclus). I already quoted Euripides Bacchae 927 concerning the epiphanic implication of ἐκεῖνος (see ch. 1, n135). Here, I quote the same line again, as it also shows how αὐτός—together with ἐκεῖνος—includes the sense of recognition of someone’s identity: as disguised Pentheus asks Dionysus whether he looks like either Ino or Agave, Dionysus replies αὐτὰς ἐκείνας εἰσορᾶν δοκῶ σ’ ὁρῶν.

[ back ] 75. Monro 1901:236.

[ back ] 76. Stanford 1996, II:385.

[ back ] 77. Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, III:280. Italics in the text.

[ back ] 78. LfgrE s.v. αὐτοδίδακτος. Cf. Iliad 5.51–52 δίδαξε γὰρ Ἄρτεμις αὐτὴ / βάλλειν …

[ back ] 79. “has planted in my mind all kinds of song-ways” is borrowed from Stanford (1996, II:385).

[ back ] 80. Hermann (1827:308–309; cf. above, n15) had already delved into this kind of function.

[ back ] 81. Significant examples in the dative case are Iliad 3.362; 6.243; 7.246; 9.349; 16.108; Odyssey 4.134; 5.235 and 254; 10.93; 11.26; 13.97; 19.101. I remind the reader that in Homer the so-called attributive position of αὐτός in constructions such as definite article + αὐτός + noun, or noun + definite article + αὐτός are quite infrequent; see. Chantraine Chantraine 1942–1953, II:156. A rare example is Odyssey 7.326 ἤματι τῷ αὐτῷ “the same day.”

[ back ] 82. Iliad 14.56 and 68, Odyssey 10.26 and 15.528 (ships τε καὶ individuals); Iliad 11.525 (horses τε καὶ individuals); Iliad 17.152 (city vs. individual).

[ back ] 83. Other instances featuring the companions as the periphery and Odysseus as the center (αὐτός) are Odyssey 9.421; 10.267, 298, 339, 405, 535; 11.48 and 371; 12.49.

[ back ] 84. Odyssey 10.512 (the ship vs. “you αὐτός”) and 528 (the orientation of the slain cattle’s faces vs. that of Odysseus’ face).

[ back ] 85. A similar case is Odyssey 7.21. A notable use of αὐτός to visually center the protagonist of the scene comes from Odysseus, as he describes the talent of an excellent speaker in front of Euryalus: “[f]or there is a certain kind of man, less noted for beauty, / but the god puts comeliness on his words, and they who look toward him / are filled with joy at the sight [οἱ δέ τ’ ἐς αὐτὸν / τερπόμενοι λεύσσουσιν], and he speaks to them without faltering / in winning modesty, and shines among those who are gathered, / and people look on him as on a god when he walks in the city” (Odyssey 8.169–173; tr. Lattimore 1967).

[ back ] 86. If we suppose that layering might be effective also in book thirteen, it can not be excluded that αὐτός hints at Odysseus’ corpse as well. Telemachus refers to Odysseus not only as his glorious father, but also as a definitely high-rank figure (i.e. the powerful ruler of Ithaca) at Odyssey 1.114–117: “he [Telemachus] was sitting among the suitors, sad in his heart, with his noble father in his mind, thinking how, if he should come back at some point, he would disperse the suitors and set the house free, and would be the one to keep the honor [τιμὴν δ’ αὐτὸς ἔχοι], and reign over his possessions.”

[ back ] 87. De Jong and Nünlist (2004:72) assign the description of these events to Odysseus’ standpoint: “from Odysseus’ position (and presumably through his eyes).”

[ back ] 88. See, among others, Stewart 1976:103: “The question of recognition is a key to the meaning of the second half of the poem.”

[ back ] 89. Odysseus actually uses αὐτός of the Odysseus he is talking about in front of Telemachus even before the official recognition. See 16.100, about which Stanford (1996, ΙΙ:267) comments: “he [Odysseus] has nearly revealed himself in 100.” On 16.108–110 Monro (1901:77) observes: “Throughout this speech Ulysses is on the verge of using language only suited to his own character.”

[ back ] 90. On νοέω and memory, see Bakker 2002:77–80 and Bonifazi 2008b:116–118. See also ch. 4, n102.

[ back ] 91. Gainsford (2003:47) includes this meeting between Odysseus and Philoetius in the recognition scenes.

[ back ] 92. The latter passage has already been commented upon in ch. 2 (pp. 99–100).

[ back ] 93. Odysseus also uses αὐτός in his declaration of revelation to the suitors (as I will discuss) and to Laertes. With Telemachus, conversely, he simply says “I am your father” (πατὴρ τεός εἰμι, 16.188). With Penelope there is no verbal declaration of revelation, nor is there any with Eurycleia (it is actually Eurycleia who explicitly says “You are Odysseus”: ἦ μάλ’ ’Οδυσσεύς ἐσσι, 19.474).

[ back ] 94. Russo has already noted the embedding of third-person κεῖνος between two second-person marks (Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, III:95). The scholar speaks of the “verbal surprises” of Eurycleia’s words (95). His general comment on the passage is as follows: “Homer teases his audience … by manipulating his language to give the illusion—impossible though it be—that Odysseus’ disguise has been penetrated and the nurse is addressing the beggar.” Teasing the audience is, indeed, the striking effect.

[ back ] 95. Murnaghan (1987:40–41) underscores Eurycleia’s role as a doublet of Odysseus’ mother Anticleia and draws a parallel to Eumaeus: “As they recognize Odysseus and are recognized by him, the poem suggests that Eurycleia and Eumaeus are more like relatives than like servants. … Odysseus’ retainers lose their social inferiority as if it were, like his, a disguise” (1987:39–40). Karydas (1998:57) concludes that the number of epithets assigned to her is a further sign of “her multifaceted personality and her impact and importance in the story.”

[ back ] 96. Cf. Iliad 2.330 and 14.48.

[ back ] 97. The last two instances of κεῖνος uttered by Penelope intriguingly occur once she has presumably already glimpsed the beggar in the hall (see 18.206–211).

[ back ] 98. Vlahos (2007) argues that from the very beginning of book nineteen Penelope knows who the beggar is, and their conversation turns out to be “cryptic and discreet in order to protect the secret of Odysseus’ return.” (Vlahos 2007:1).

[ back ] 99. Odyssey 19.127–128 = 18.254–255 εἰ κεῖνός γ’ ἐλθὼν τὸν ἐμὸν βίον ἀμφιπολεύοι, / μεῖζόν κε κλέος εἴη ἐμὸν καὶ κάλλιον οὕτω.

[ back ] 100. I add that the comment by the primary speaking ‘I’ “as she was crying over her husband, who was sitting beside her” (κλαιούσης ἑὸν ἄνδρα, παρήμενον, 19.209) masterfully maintains the polyphony between the external omniscient point of view and Penelope’s ambiguous perceptions. The same holds for 19.603 (κλαῖεν ἔπειτ’ ’Οδυσῆα, φίλον πόσιν, “and cried over Odysseus, her dear husband”). On Penelope’s tears, see Lateiner (1995:250 and 267). Levaniouk (2011:29–30; 251–255) points out the polyvalence of her tears, between grief, memory, and joy. Odysseus’s tears are polyvalent, as well (Levaniouk 2001:33–35); in particular, “ ‘meltdowns’ in the Odyssey signal key turning points in the process of Odysseus’ self-revelation.” (Levaniouk 2011:35).

[ back ] 101. As Harsch observes (1950:11), the same words are used for Penelope’s open recognition (23.206) and Laertes’ recognition (24.346).

[ back ] 102. For κεῖνος indicating dead and lamented individuals, see ch. 1, pp. 46–50 and 58 with n146; as for ὑποδέχομαι, see ch. 2, n100. From the perspective of an overlap between a wife adorning her living husband and a wife adorning the grave monument of her husband, ἄγαλμα is a significant term. On grave statues as agalmata, see Sourvinou-Inwood 1995:143–144, 146, and 230. N. Austin (1975:253) is quite explicit on Penelope’s behavior possibly encompassing a “posthumous” worship of Odysseus: “Penelope alleges that the burial shroud she weaves is for her father-in-law. We are not fooled. It is for Odysseus, not Laertes. In weaving and unraveling the shroud Penelope lays her husband in his grave by day and raises him, Lazarus-like, from the dead by night. She too performs her daily ceremony of opposition and conjunction, accepting her husband’s death and from his death creating his life anew, in a ceaseless process of waxing and waning. What is her weaving but the rhythm of the life of the man who moves between the realms of Hades and Helios, now disappearing from the light, now coming into being once more?”

[ back ] 103. A similar passage in book fourteen (331) has already been analyzed in ch. 2 (pp. 87–88).

[ back ] 104. The lack of any verbal antecedent has, in this case, made scholars indirectly propose a “referent in the mind” solution: “[κεῖνον] of course means Odysseus, the one always uppermost in Penelope’s thoughts” (R. B. Rutherford 1992:178); cf. κεῖνον δύστηνον (Odyssey 4.182, uttered by Telemachus) analyzed in ch. 1 (p. 49).

[ back ] 105. Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, III:7. On the same topic, see Büchner 1940:133–134, and R. B. Rutherford 1992:33.

[ back ] 106. LSJ reports that in Homer πέφραδον never means “telling, saying” according to Aristarchus. The form πέφραδε is used to convey “making the way clear,” “pointing out,” at least at Odyssey 14.3 (said of Athena showing Odysseus where to find Eumaeus) and at 19.250 about the σήματα of Odysseus shown to Penelope.

[ back ] 107. On this playful use of αὐτός, see De Jong (2001:481), Goldhill (1991:46), and Fenik (1974:46).

[ back ] 108. I will return to these lines in ch. 4, as they include αὖ as well.

[ back ] 109. For a summary of the interpretations of Penelope’s reactions in Odyssey 17–19, see Murnaghan (1987:136–139), Katz (1991:93–113), R. B. Rutherford (1992:33–38), and Russo (Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, III:7–13), who divides the different schools of interpretations into four categories: narratological, folkloric, psychological, and literalist. In brief, the narratological view highlights the “alternative potential plots” (8); the folkloric assimilates Penelope to the clever wife-heroine of folk-tale who refuses any marriage with enemies; the literalist does not see any “sub-text” to be dealt with; and, finally, the psychological explains Penelope’s behavior without assuming that any recognition has taken place prior to the “official” one.

[ back ] 110. The unitary notion of the subject relies, as Katz’s puts it, on “the idea … that character is constituted around a core of true being represented by certain ‘characteristics’” (Katz 1991:193). A recent work defending the unity of Penelope on the ground of her sincerity is Heitman 2005.

[ back ] 111. H. Foley’s and N. Austin’s analyses of her homophrosynē (H. Foley 1978 and N. Austin 1975:205–238), which underscore the complementarity of the relationship between Odysseus and Penelope, contribute to the clearing of the borders between single unitary personalities.

[ back ] 112. Katz 1991:159.

[ back ] 113. Chantraine (1999:897) is quite sceptical about the etymology of Πηνελόπεια. The only certain link at the level of nominal formation is that with πηνέλοψ, designating a wild bird. The most obvious link with πήνη, “thread, woof, web” does not, in fact, indicate whether the Homeric name was invented to match the noun for “web” in its initial part or was derived from such the noun independently of the Homeric tradition. Most relevant to the theoretical challenges of the current monograph is Levaniouk’s investigation of the symbolic meanings related to Penelope’s name and birds of lament and mourning (1999). The “more than human” (1999:135) connections of her name with death indirectly lend support not only for her “larger than life” role in the poem, but also for the communicative layer in which actions and reactions concerning Odysseus already dead and worshipped are evoked (see ch. 2).

[ back ] 114. E.g. Minchin 2007:273: “Homer wants Penelope to remain something of a mystery for us”; Katz 1991:193 “we do not know, in a certain sense, ‘who’ Penelope is”; Lateiner 1995:267n47: “Perhaps the idea of solution, or any, for the partial picture of Penelope’s mind is to be rejected already in principle, because Penelope, whatever she is, is not a person”; italics in the text.

[ back ] 115. Bierl (2004:55) connects Odysseus’ radiance to the epiphanic imagery of this mocking passage.

[ back ] 116. See ch. 2, p. 96.

[ back ] 117. The same inference about the use of ὅδε at 17.371, 375, and 379 is made by De Jong (2001:427).

[ back ] 118. At Odyssey 16.178, Telemachus is struck with astonishment (θάμβησε) as he sees Odysseus transfigured by Athena into a god-like entity. At Odyssey 1.323, the same Telemachus θάμβησεν as he realizes that Mentes was actually a god. The Achaeans are seized by amazement (θάμβος) as they see Athena turned into an eagle (Odyssey 3.372); see also Odyssey 1.360, 21.354, 2.155, 24.101, and 394. At Iliad 24.483 and 484, astonishment is what characterizes not only Achilles but also the companions as they see Priam: ὣς Ἀχιλεὺς θάμβησεν ἰδὼν Πρίαμον θεοειδέα· / θάμβησαν δὲ καὶ ἄλλοι, ἐς ἀλλήλους δὲ ἴδοντο “So Achilles marveled, as he saw Priam who resembled a god. Also the others marveled, and they looked at each other.”

[ back ] 119. Odyssey 1.83, 2.238, 4.317–323, 16.431–432; at Odyssey 13.376–378, 427–428, and 14.81–82, the addressee is Odysseus himself.

[ back ] 120. I interpret line 45 (“If you really are Odysseus of Ithaca arriving …”), spoken by Eurymachus a little later, as a variant of motif R3 (= F2) in Gainsford’s analysis: “the addressee expresses disbelief”: in fact, Eurymachus dares to give an account of Odysseus’ actual presence as a disjunctive situation (“you could really be Odysseus, but you could also not be him”). On conditionals expressing “disjunctive situations,” that is, situations that may or may not be realized, see Lehmann 1977:238.

[ back ] 121. Gainsford 2003:45–46 and 54–55.

[ back ] 122. Gainsford (2003:47) reads these lines as containing motif R3: the addressee expresses disbelief.

[ back ] 123. Other than this passage, ὤλετο δ’ αὐτός occurs only at Odyssey 7.60, where it refers to Alcinous’ ancestor Nausithous.

[ back ] 124. Penelope recalls Odysseus as κεῖνος at Odyssey 4.693, 819; 832; 18.181, 254, 271; 19.127, 257, 354, 573.

[ back ] 125. Janko 1985:25; see ch. 1, n156.

[ back ] 126. The reader might infer that the present analysis lends supports to a unitary conception of the twenty-four books, without any discontinuity with book twenty-four. Actually, my analysis simply highlights that the uses of κεῖνος and αὐτός seem to reflect a knowing control of linguistic, pragmatic, and cognitive narrative tools by the primary speaking ‘I’, independently of any possible compositional designs.

[ back ] 127. On the collective as well as personal dimensions of Odysseus’ relationship with his house-holders and his family at the moment of return, see Gainsford 2003:56.

[ back ] 128. Starobinki 1975:346.