Frye on Luck

Odysseus and Aeolus

Yet another charm to chase away the spirits of bad luck today. Luck, good and bad, Frye says in The Secular Scripture, is infectious:

The most basic term for this current of energy is luck (Icelandic gaefa). Luck is highly infectious: the lucky man can always form a comitatus or group of devoted followers around him. Once his he has lost his luck, he finds that bad luck is equally infectious: the unlucky man must be avoided like the plague, because he in a sense is the plague. When Ulysses in Homer returns to Aeolus to explain that through no fault of his own he has run into misfortune, Aeolus tell him to clear out, that an unlucky man is hated by the gods, and he will have nothing more to do with him [Odyssey, bk. 10, ll. 70-75]. (CW 18, 45-6)

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