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Helen of Troy’s Drug Therapy: Odyssey 4.219–34 | “There’s Magic in the Web of It”: Othello’s Hankerchief and Helen of Troy’s Drug

Stephen Rojcewicz


At the beginning of Book 4 of the Odyssey, Telemachus, accompanied by Nestor’s son, Peisistratus, has arrived at the palace of the Greek leader Menelaus at Sparta. Telemachus is in search of information about his missing father, Odysseus. The earlier books of the Odyssey, except for indirect references and the introductory few lines, do not depict the ordeals of the hero Odysseus, but primarily deal with his son, Telemachus, only an infant when Odysseus left for the Trojan War. By now Odysseus has been gone for approximately twenty years, and Homer depicts Telemachus as grieving, depressed, weeping, insecure, anxious, and confused. Athena, appearing to Telemachus in Book 1, encourages him to travel, seeking knowledge about his father. Guided by Athena, Telemachus first lands in Pylos, where the wise hero and counselor Nestor sends Telemachus to Menelaus and Helen at Sparta, so that Telemachus can learn the truth about his father.

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