How does Odysseus try to gain the pity of Nausicaa?
In Book 6 Odysseus runs into the princess of the island he had landed on, who’s name in Nausicaa. He knows he needs to impress her if he is to get her help, so he delivers a speech. In this speech he says “Are you some goddess or a mortal woman?” This shows he is trying to flatter her through the use of religious imagery. In Homer’s Odyssey Telemachus and Odysseus are often referred to as “god-like” and this would have been seen as a prestigious compliment. However, the fact that Odysseus suggests that he has actually mistaken her for a goddess would make her feel as if her beauty is incredible and would make her view Odysseus with more kindness. He then continues to compare her specifically to the goddess Artemis, who has been chosen by Odysseus so that he shows her respect. The fact that Artemis is a virgin goddess may help Nausicaa to feel safer around Odysseus as he is saying her beauty isn’t sexual, and this is necessary for him after his aggressive entrance, where he is described as a “mountain lion” to hunt prey. The use of religious imagery could also be a way to subtly remind Nausicaa that Zeus looks after the Phaeacians, and so she should show him xenia and help him so as to not anger the gods. While complimenting Nausicaa he says “Thrice blessed are your father and your mother...and your brothers too” Mentioning her family is a good tactic as the role of women in Ancient Greece would mean she would want their approval and to make them happy.