This paper builds an argument against R. D. Dawe, who believes that one of the most famous of all stories is inauthentic and badly told. In his notes on ‘When she showed the robe, after weaving the great web, washing it so that it looked like the sun or moon, then it was that an evil spirit brought Odysseus from somewhere’, Dawe remarks that the web story ‘hardly belongs’ in the Odyssey, and asks: ‘Why “showed”? And to whom? Why the otiose addition of “after weaving the great web”, as if we had not just been talking about that very thing? Answers to these questions will be given in my final paragraph.
To look closely into the epics, and if possible behind them, I will say a word about distinguishing the pre-text from the text. First, oral poets would enlarge and otherwise reshape their material, not always with flawless technique. It may be true but cannot be proven that one such poet, more than any other, created the Iliad, and that the same one, or a different one, more than any other, created the Odyssey.