Social Structure in Homer's Odyssey

1116 Words5 Pages
Talia Regan
05.29.13

Social Structure in Homer 's 'Odyssey '

Homer 's epic, 'The Odyssey ', is a lengthy poem that recounts the Trojan war hero, Odysseus ' arduous and protracted journey home to Ithaca. In it, Homer accentuates the somewhat feudal nature of his world, a societal structure that far more resembles his own than that which actually existed in Mycenaean Greece, less to supplement the story, but rather to serve as the primary focus. Despite the feudal qualities of the world that Homer relates, the poem is almost entirely devoid of class conscious thinking. Instead, the primary source of structure comes from the household. The 'Odyssey ' serves as something of a champion for the oixos (Ancient Greek for the household
…show more content…
Her act of defiance against, really her weapon against the threats to her already crumbling household, is time.
The suitors that swarm Odysseys ' house in the hopes that they may acquire her hand in marriage. They are a rowdy, arrogant, and decidedly unpleasant bunch, made only worse by their complete lack of concern for Odysseus and his household. But their incessant pursuit of their prize, though what ultimately condemns them, is, by the context already noted, justified. Though they are the primary antagonists in the story, and they certainly suffer the harshest fate (perhaps except for the sailors), amongst their ranks were some perfect decent, well-natured men. It is simply a natural response (in the context of this culture) for a man, Odysseus in this case, to take revenge upon men, whether they be justified in their actions or not or whether they are well-natured or not, who threaten the stability of his household. This is despite the fact that he himself has been the aggressor at many times. Had he been killed in that pursuit, it would have only been considered natural, and so it is natural that the suitors were killed in theirs. The suitors thought, through a successful marriage to a beautiful woman from a wealthy family, they would be able to further their household in terms of success. A notion that, in the world Homer portrays, is not entirely fanciful.
What the justifications for characters
Get Access