Hospitality in The Odyssey Essay

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Throughout Homer's The Odyssey, Odysseus the main character in the story is tested with the true meaning of hospitality. In the heroic age, hospitality was viewed as punishment or acceptance of a stranger. While Odysseus longed for his return to home, he faced the two different kinds of hospitality offered within the heroic age. My theory is that Odysseus was provided with good hospitality when he would enter a town that allowed him to eat at their table, bathed within their baths, and sleep within their homes. The townspeople and their king often provided superior hospitality for strangers without questioning them first. It's thought that maybe the wonderful hospitality was provided in return of viewing the stranger as a …show more content…
When Odysseus is introduced to the malicious Cyclops, Odysseus quickly learns Cyclops negative outlook toward strangers. While Odysseus pleads for the Cyclops acceptance by stating "we're at your knees in hopes of a warm welcome, even a guest-gift, the sort that hosts give strangers", The Cyclops ruthlessly responded after Odysseus claimed his identity as a nobody, "Nobody? I'll eat Nobody last of all his friends- I'll eat the others first! That's my gift to you!" (Homer 219-220, 223). The Cyclops appears to have no difficulty in expressing negative hospitality while he states, "we Cyclops never blink at Zeus and Zeus's shield of storm and thunder, or any other blessed God- we've got more force by far" (Homer 220). Although, Odysseus experienced unpleasant hospitality within his journey, he was also lucky to find townspeople and their kings that accepted strangers with a positive outlook.

Odysseus invited himself to an open feast of the king and elders in Phaeacia where he begged Arete for mercy. Odysseus was observed by the feasters lying at Arete's feet begging for rapid voyage home along with praying that the God's give good fortune to the feasters. Echeneus, the eldest Lord in Phaeacia responded by stating,

This is no way, Alcinous. How indecent, look,

our guest on the ground, in the ashes by the fire!

Your people are holding back, waiting for your

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