"By emphasizing the inadequacies of the sons, the poet makes us long for the appearance of the father, whose authority and competence are beyond dispute. In this way, the Odyssey enacts the truth of one of its most famous and troubling lines, which the poet puts in Athena's mouth at the end of the assembly scene: "Few sons are the equals of their fathers; most fall short, all too few surpass them."

Daniel Mendelsohn, An Odyssey, Alfred A. Knopf, 2017