The Odyssey

1243 Words Mar 13th, 2013 5 Pages
The Odyssey

In Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, each culture treats strangers and guests with distinct differences from every other culture. One of the most hospitable cultures was that of the ancient Greeks, exemplified in Homer 's The Odyssey by both gracious hosts and guests. In Greece and The Odyssey, not only was good hospitality etiquette expected, but the added pressure that if they didn’t treat their guests with respect the gods would punish them further compelled excellent manners. The Odyssey illustrates the proper etiquette when dealing with guests. In Homer’s ancient Greece their are many steps that a host must follow to complete proper guest-host relations, these steps aren’t enforced but are expected. When a stranger comes to
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“…we’re at your knees in hopes of a warm welcome, even a guest gift, the sort that hosts give strangers.” As a guest, Odysseus is very selfish and inconsiderate towards his hosts. Throughout the duration of Odysseus’ absence, the suitors are treated well, and in response to this, they refuse to leave when asked. The suitors are fed and housed, and after a number of years they overstay their welcome. In response to this Telemachus, prompted by Athena, informs the suitors that his father is returning home and they are all to vacate Odysseus’ home. The suitors, in turn, ignore him and continue to eat drink and be merry, at the cost of Telemachus and Penelope’s household. What are the consequences of these actions taken by the suitors? Although the primary consequence is their death, they also lose the hand of Penelope. None of them are able to pass the test of stringing the bow of Odysseus except Odysseus himself. This is followed by the main consequence of the suitors’ execution at the hands of Odysseus and Telemachus. By not respecting the hospitality given by Penelope, they set the stage for their own deaths. This is quite possibly a reference to the fact that they saw hospitality as a way to honor the gods; giving hospitality to a stranger was the same as offering it to a god. Zeus being the god of hospitality, one of the primary ways to worship this aspect of Zeus ' godliness was to be hospitable to strangers and travelers. A

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