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Ithaka: A Lawless Dystopia in The Odyssey by Homer

Decent Essays
A set of laws are a necessity for human society – without them, humans can retrogress back into a state of nature. Homer, in his epic, The Odyssey, shows readers the outcome of a society when rules are not obeyed and, instead, ignored. An unbalance occurs and Homer proves to readers that without laws, a terrible dystopia is born. Rules that are followed are essential in a well-built society, and Homer thinks that when no one is present to enforce these rules, and they are instead ignored, the break-down of society occurs, causing chaos and disorder to roam freely. Ithaka, a once prosperous and powerful kingdom, is now in disorder, and Homer wants readers to observe how the absence of a king and the uninvited stay of a hundred suitors causes a once well-built society to crumble. Odysseus has been gone for almost twenty years, fighting in the Trojan War and struggling to return home. His absence has allowed “a pack” (20) of suitors to exploit the kingdom, “killing [the] beeves and sheep and fatted goats… and not caring [for] what they do” (20-21). Readers should think of the suitors as nothing better than parasites, sucking the wealth of Ithaka clean and ravaging the kingdom of its food and drink. They are exploiting the rules of being guests in another’s house and Homer wants readers to realize that the breaking of these rules has caused Ithaka’s society to crumble. Ithaka is no longer united and disorder reigns as the suitors continue to suck the wealth out of the kingdom
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