The Odyssey Greed Quotes

"Look!" he sneered, "one scum nosing another scum along,
dirt finds dirt by the will of the gods, it never fails!
Wretched pig-boy, where do you take your filthy swine,
this sickening beggar who licks the pots at feasts?
Hanging round the doorposts, rubbing his back,
scavenging after scraps,
no hero’s swords and cauldrons, not for him.
Hand him over to me – I’ll teach him to work a farm,
muck out my stalls, pitch feed to the young goats,
whey to drink will put some muscle on his hams!
Oh no, he’s learned his lazy ways too well,
he’s got no itch to stick to good hard work,
he’d rather go scrounging round the countryside,
begging for crusts to stuff his greedy gut!
Let me tell you – so help me it’s the truth –
if he sets foot in King Odysseus’ royal palace,
salvos of footstools flung at his head by all the lords
will crack his ribs as he runs the line of fire through the house!"

– Homer

The Odyssey, Book 17, lines 236-253. As Odysseus-the-beggar and Eumaeus walk into town, Odysseus’ disloyal goatherd Melanthius, who serves and cooks for the suitors, hurls insults at them. Melanthius is the antithesus of loyal swineherd Eumaeus. He berates Eumaeus for keeping company with a sickening beggar who licks pots at feasts and scavenges after scraps. No hero’s sword or cauldron for this man, he says with heavy irony. Melanthius doesn’t realize that he is speaking of the famous warrior Odysseus who has received many gifts and carried a hero’s sword. It is Melanthius, a man of little means and servant, who will never receive a sword or cauldron. There is also irony in the goatherd accusing Odysseus-the-beggar of having a "greedy gut." For the ones most guilty of greed are those that Melanthius serves – the suitors!