Philosophy

Research Article

The Transformations of Persons

Amélie Oksenberg Rortya1

a1 King's College, Cambridge and Livingston College, Rutgers University

In Book IV of The Odyssey, Menelaus tells Telemachus as much as he knows of Odysseus' wanderings. He reports that Odysseus, wanting to learn the end of his travels and needing directions for returning safely home through the dangerous seas, captured Proteus and held fast to him, though Proteus transformed himself into a bearded lion, a snake, a leopard, a bear, running water and finally into a flowering tree. Proteus eventually wearied, and consented to tell Odysseus something of what he wished to know.