Odysseus is a tricky hero, part noble, upstanding and brave, part slippery, trickery, too-clever-by-half.  He is a compelling orator, and it is hard to tell if his apparent shuffling shyness is a feint to lull his audience, or win their sympathy.

This is from Logue’s muscular rendition of a few books of the Iliad, a slim volume jam-packed with dazzling quotations and metaphors – for an illustrated selection see the bestellar review.

‘History says,

Before Odysseus spoke he seemed to be,

Well … shy – shuffling his feet, eyes down – the usual things.

However, once it passed his teeth, his voice possessed

Two powers: to charm, to change –

Though if it were the change that made the charm

Or charm the change, no one was sure.’


For other voice related metaphors, see the Countess of Gormenghast, her cats, and an old man of the humble Dwellings. All Peake perfect.


Source: Christopher Logue, War Music: An account of Books 1-4 and 16-19 of Homer’s Iliad, London: Faber and Faber, 2001, p. 91

Photo credit: lincerta at pixabay.com


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