The exchange until now:
seneca2008 wrote: ↑Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:39 pmAn interesting point, although I have difficulty with the way you have formulated it. I don't see that avoiding someone's anger and not wanting to hurt someone's feelings are alternative ways of expressing the same thing. Perhaps that's not what you meant.Paul Derouda wrote:It's interesting how often in Homer whenever there is question of how people treat each other, the focus is on outward reactions rather than emotions. Here Laertes (not Odysseus!) avoided the anger of his wife by not sleeping with Eurycleia, while we would say that he didn't want to hurt her feelings.
I wonder, however, if Laertes is motivated by not wanting to hurt his wife's feelings? Seeking to avoid an angry reaction seems to me to be about self-preservation rather than concern for someone else's feelings. If he were concerned about her feelings perhaps he wouldn't have bought and brought a female slave home, giving her equal status to his wife. Perhaps because what Laertes does is such an unusual course for a homeric hero it implies he does have conflicting feelings of care for his wife on the one hand and satisfying his appetite on the other. Perhaps it's a mixture of both feeling care and fear of wrath. The feeling of care is rather oblique.
At line 420 we do have an example where Telemachus says one thing but thinks another which gives some hint to his emotional state. So homeric characters do have an interior life which we can sometimes glimpse.
Paul Derouda wrote: ↑Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:33 pmThat's a legitimate question, and I can't tell you for sure. There is no doubt that the characters have an interior life, as for example line 420 testifies. But I meant something different: I challenge you to find one single instance in Homer where a character says or does something to another character just in order to provoke an emotional response without immediate external repercussions. It seems to me that Homer simply has no way to say "he didn't want to hurt her feelings".
In the same way I don't think there are many instances where the inner sentiments of a character towards another character are described without an outward expression of those sentiments, or at least contemplated expression. φιλέω doesn't qualify, because it usually if not always means "treat with affection" rather than just "love" (hence the meaning "kiss", though I'm not sure if it exists in Homer). Phrases like κεδνὰ ἰδυῖα (Od. 1.428), ἀνάκτεσιν ἤπια εἰδώς (Od. 15.557) might qualify though. But even there it is question of loyalty, and the point is that these servants can be trusted should the need arise, it's not so much about their interior life.
seneca2008 wrote: ↑Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:39 pmI have thought about this but I am having difficulty in understanding the point you are making. Assuming you don’t exactly mean “just in order” which implies a rather gratuitous provocation, are you saying that Homeric characters always react explicitly and in a concrete way to interactions with other characters? If you are saying that doesn’t the example I quoted at 420 provide a counter example? Telemachus keeps his true thoughts to himself.Paul Derouda wrote:But I meant something different: I challenge you to find one single instance in Homer where a character says or does something to another character just in order to provoke an emotional response without immediate external repercussions. It seems to me that Homer simply has no way to say "he didn't want to hurt her feelings".
I am sure I have not understood you properly but it sounds like you are making an interesting point about Homeric psychology. Could you elaborate? Maybe this deserves its own thread?