Homers Odyssey | Chapter 42 of 54

Author: Homer | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 889581 Views | Add a Review

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IN THE PALACE OF ODYSSEUS

 

The suitors are gambling and feasting. 

 

EURYMACHUS

You bet three. I bet five, and another five.

 

AMPHINOMUS

That’s thirteen.

 

EURYMACHUS

You’re a mathematical genius!

Hey – more wine over here. And more meat.

 

AMPHINOMUS

Takes the fun out of it, doesn’t it? 

 

EURYMACHUS

The fun out of what?

 

AMPHINOMUS

Gambling. We drink like princes and we eat like kings.

Whatever we shout for arrives on a silver plate.

I’ve put on weight.

 

EURYMACHUS

I never get tired of winning or sick of losing.

Now lay your money down and roll the stones.

 

They roll the pebbles across the table.

Ha! Pay up. You’re a born loser, Amphinomus,

I don’t know why I hang about with you – it might rub off.

 

AMPHINOMUS

You’ve done all right by me.

 

EURYMACHUS

True – it keeps my purse fat. But look, there goes the biggest prize.

 

AMPHINOMUS

Where?

 

The hall goes quiet as the suitors register Penelope’s presence.

EURYMACHUS

On the balcony – same time every night.

(shouts)

My sovereign lady. Won’t you join us for a drink?

 

Or a bite to eat?

 

There’s more than enough. Look at this plump game bird,

freshly roasted. Won’t you share a leg with me, my lady?

 

Or a breast? Will you share a breast?

 

AMPHINOMUS

Leave her alone.

 

EURYMACHUS

Shall we prise open the wishbone together, my lady?

Part it wide and make a wish.

 

Laughter in the hall.

AMPHINOMUS

You’re deplorable.

 

EURYMACHUS

What’s rattled your cage?

 

AMPHINOMUS

I just think we should show her some respect.

Vulgarity – it’s hardly the way to her heart.

 

EURYMACHUS

And how much respect has she showed us,

stringing us along all these years? She’s the vulgar one.

 

AMPHINOMUS

It’s not what I call courtship.

 

EURYMACHUS

She’s in no position to pick and choose.

She’s a widow in all but name, and before long

she’ll be penniless, and those looks won’t last for ever.

Pretty soon she’ll be happy to marry a goat-herd.

So stop flapping. We’re in the box seat.

 

AMPHINOMUS

If Odysseus ever comes back …

 

EURYMACHUS

Well, he isn’t coming back, so stop mithering.

 

Penelope leaves the balcony and a door closes behind her.

EURYMACHUS

Now look what you’ve done – you’ve scared her off.

Get your money out – we’ll double the stakes.

Anyone else for a game?

 

Antinous strides into the hall.

ANTINOUS

Put those away.

 

EURYMACHUS

Hey – I’m in the middle of a winning streak.

 

ANTINOUS

Your luck just changed. Crowd around and listen.

News just reached me. Telemachus is back on Ithaca.

 

EURYMACHUS

What? We had men on the cliffs and in the bay.

 

ANTINOUS

He slipped past.

 

EURYMACHUS

How can a man slip past a hundred spears and knives?

A sea-snake couldn’t have wriggled through that lot unscathed.

 

ANTINOUS

Well, he did. He was seen in the hills.

 

EURYMACHUS

Useless. A bunch of hopeless bunglers.

I should have done it myself.

 

AMPHINOMUS

This is a bad omen.

 

ANTINOUS

Let’s keep superstition out of it. Although …

it’s true. The fingerprints of the Gods are all over this.

Those watchmen kept guard all around the clock,

right across the bay. It was a wall of steel.

Only a God or Goddess could have spirited that boy home.

 

AMPHINOMUS

Not a boy any more, then.

 

EURYMACHUS

He’s a lickspittle. A beardless wonder.

 

ANTINOUS

No, Amphinomus is right.

By stealing back to Ithaca he’s proved what some of us feared –

that he’s crafty and determined.

He’s his father’s son, in other words.

And now he’s roaming the island,

turning people against us, murmuring in their ears.

We’ve no alternative.

 

AMPHINOMUS

What – murder him in cold blood?

 

ANTINOUS

You didn’t hesitate before,

when we meant to finish him off at sea.

 

AMPHINOMUS

Out of sight, out of mind. But he’s the heir to the kingdom –

we can’t hunt him down in his own land.

 

EURYMACHUS

Kill him now.

 

ANTINOUS

Agreed. This thing needs bringing to a head.

Then we’ll offer gifts to his mother –

she’ll choose the man who makes the best offer …

 

EURYMACHUS

And we’ll all live happily ever after.

 

AMPHINOMUS

I say we should consult the Gods – seek their judgement.

 

ANTINOUS

They’ve made their move by bringing Telemachus home.

They mean to test us – see how we respond.

 

We won’t disappoint them.

 

Comments

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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