Nausicaa: Homeric Parallel

In Book 5 of The Odyssey Odysseus leaves Calypso's island, is harassed by Poseidon (see headnote to Calypso), and is finally beached at the mouth of a river in the land of a fabulous seafaring people, the Phaeacians. Odysseus hides in a thicket to sleep off his exhaustion and in Book 6 is eventually awakened by the activities of the Princess Nausicaa and her maids-in-waiting, who have come to the river to do the palace laundry. The specific incident that awakens Odysseus involves a ball lost in the course of a game (see Ulysses 13.345ff). Odysseus reveals himself to Nausicaa and decides not to grasp her knees as suppliant but to "let the soft words fall" (6:148; Fitzgerald, p. 115). He praises her beauty, likens her to a goddess, and pleads the hardship of his case. His appeal is successful; Nausicaa arranges for his safe conduct to the court, and eventually her parents arrange for his safe conduct home to Ithaca.

(from Don Gifford with Robert J. Seidman, "Ulysses" Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's "Ulysses" [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988], p. 384. The first numbers following quotes from The Odyssey [for example, 1:115] refer to book and line numbers in the Greek text; English translations, unless otherwise noted, are from The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fitzgerald [New York: Doubleday, 1961])