From “The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters” by Adam Nicolson

So uncatchable is Odysseus that when the poem describes his state of mind, you can never be certain where to find him. When he is lying in bed, anxious and unable to sleep. Homer says he is ‘tossing backwards and forwards, like a sausage that a man is turning backwards and forwards above the burning coals, doing it on one side, then the other, wanting it cook quickly. So Odysseus was turning backwards and fowards, thinking what he should do.’ Entha kai entha, backwards and forwards, hither and tither, literally ‘there and there’: Homer repeats the phrase three times in five lines. It must be branded on his hero’s heart. But is Odysseus the cook or the sausage? Is he turning or being turned? Is he the passive victim of his life or its principal actor? Or both?

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