In book 16 what character is being referred to as father in lines 19-21. what is this characters role in the novel and why is he referred to as father
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I believe these lines refer to Alcinous (father). Unfortunately, I'm not sure we have the sdame lines.
Might be Eumaus - some translations refer to him with that title since he is older than Odysseus.
I looked at the lines in question....... I didn't see Eumas' name mentioned. I will check back once more.
Odysseus is there, but it seems to be the swineherd who greets Telemachus as a father would his son.
"And as a loving father greets his own dear son, who comes in the tenth year from a distant land—his only son and well-beloved, for whose sake he has borne much sorrow—  even so did the goodly swineherd then clasp in his arms godlike Telemachus, and kiss him all over as one escaped from death; and with wailing he addressed him with winged words: “Thou art come, Telemachus, sweet light of my eyes. I thought I should never see thee more after thou hadst gone in thy ship to Pylos. "