Phemius in The Odyssey is a self-taught lyre player who specializes in songs of sadness and despair. He is called unfortunate, having to perform before men who want to usurp the king’s throne and wife. This oral poet depicts the odd combination of tradition and innovation that is being influenced by the gods.
Phemius is a bard from Ithaca. He sings a mournful song about the Trojan War to the suitors of Penelope, as part of his job. In Homer’s Odyssey, Phemius’ task is to illustrate how important oral tales and bards’ skills were to Ancient Greeks.
Phemius is a bard who resides in Ithaka, an island in the Ionian Sea. He makes his debut in Homer’s Odyssey in Book 1. Phemius is forced to play his lyre for Penelope’s suitors, the husband of Odysseus, unwittingly singing a sad ballad about the Trojan War and Odysseus, who has gone away long ago but has not returned.
Penelope appears to be pained by this song. She is furious about her husband’s extended absence. As a result, she exits her room and asks Phemius to sing something less distressing. Her son, Telemachus, tells Phemius to keep singing, however. He considers himself the house ruler since he was born there first.
In Book 22 of the Odyssey, Phemius is mentioned once again when he asks Odysseus to let him live. The bard explained that he refused to perform for the suitors because he did not want to.
Telemachus verified this, and Odysseus permitted the bard to remain alive. However, Odysseus requests that Phemius sing a cheerful marriage song loudly enough to drown out the screams of the dying suitors.
Phemius is one of the two bards mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. During the poem, Demodocus, the other bard, sings three narrative songs. The job of the bards was to emphasize the importance of oral storytelling and song in Ancient Greek society.
Homer demonstrates how bards’ tales are connected to their audience’s thoughts and feelings. Bards’ stories are also important to the plot as a whole, making them an interesting part of it.
Penelope’s father is the famed bard Phemius, who also appears in Virgil’s Aeneid. He is the resident poet at Ithaka. He first appears as he sings of the Trojan war to Penelope, causing her to mourn. Later, he survives the massacre due to his loyalty to Odysseus while he was gone.