Melting Snow and Counterfeit Steel: Penelope and Odysseus

This is how the narrative describes Penelope and Odysseus during their encounter while Odysseus is in disguise.

Odyssey 19.204–212

‘As she was listening her tears began to flow and her skin’s color receded
As when snow melts on the highest mountaintops,
The snow the east wind melts after the west wind piles it up,
And rivers grow full and flow from the thaw—
That’s how her beautiful cheeks melted, pouring tears
As she wept for her own husband even as he sat there. But Odysseus
Pitied his wife as she mourned in his heart—
But his eyes stood motionless like horn or iron
Under his brows as he cloaked his tears with a trick.”

τῆς δ’ ἄρ’ ἀκουούσης ῥέε δάκρυα, τήκετο δὲ χρώς.
ὡς δὲ χιὼν κατατήκετ’ ἐν ἀκροπόλοισιν ὄρεσσιν,
ἥν τ’ εὖρος κατέτηξεν, ἐπὴν ζέφυρος καταχεύῃ,
τηκομένης δ’ ἄρα τῆς ποταμοὶ πλήθουσι ῥέοντες·
ὣς τῆς τήκετο καλὰ παρήϊα δάκρυ χεούσης,
κλαιούσης ἑὸν ἄνδρα, παρήμενον. αὐτὰρ ᾿Οδυσσεὺς
θυμῷ μὲν γοόωσαν ἑὴν ἐλέαιρε γυναῖκα,
ὀφθαλμοὶ δ’ ὡς εἰ κέρα ἕστασαν ἠὲ σίδηρος
ἀτρέμας ἐν βλεφάροισι· δόλῳ δ’ ὅ γε δάκρυα κεῦθεν.


Related image
Penelope and Odysseus, by Johann Heinrich Tischbein

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