Their name means “eater of Lotos”, kind of plant which made them amorphous. Second phase of the tour of Ulysses after the Cicones, this one sends three men to recognize the places.
“But, hardly in way, my envoys bind with Lotophages which, far from contemplating the murder of our people, serve to them as the lottos. However, as soon as that one of them tastes with these honey fruits, he does not want to return any more nor to give news. ”
( ibid , IX, 91-97, transl. Victor Bérard)
Ulysses must bring back of force his companions on the ships, and re-embark at once.
According to Jean Bérard, this stopover of Ulysses symbolizes a particular danger which weighs on all the explorers: that of a “so benevolent reception”, of a so hospital ground, which it deprives the sailors of the desire of return.
For Jean-Pierre Vernant ( Universe, Gods, the Men , p.?), the passage by Lotophages marks for Ulysses the access to the unknown and worrying worlds, that its course from now on will have to face. Especially, because its inhabitants offer the delicious food of the Oubli, it is the first stage of an existential test, that of the lapse of the memory. On the tour of Ulysses, weighs indeed the permanent danger of the obliteration of the memory and the loss of the desire to turn over in the native fatherland. To be man, it is necessary to be able to overcome the lapse of memory, “to remember oneself and others”. Such is the background of all the adventures of Ulysses.
- (IX, 84-105).
- (I, 9).
- (III, 4,3; XVII, 3,8 and 17).
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