Theme Of Hospitality In The Odyssey

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The role of hospitality is seen in many examples throughout the Odyssey. However, it is not always the same in every example that Odysseus encounters. When Odysseus comes across the Cyclops Polyphemus, the hospitality he receives is totally outside the norm of civilization, which is what he is used to. Instead, because of his ego, Odysseus receives a barbaric welcome instead of the hospitable welcome that he is accustomed to.
When Odysseus arrives at the island of the Cyclops, his first mistake occurs when he decides that he and men should stay in the cave and meet Polyphemus, even when his men advised him to take the goods and leave (IX.215-217). At this instance, Odysseus’s decision is influenced by his ego. He sees all the goods in the cave and the reason he stays is because he hopes that the Cyclops would give him a gift of hospitality. This is interesting because Odysseus does not know whether the Cyclops is civilized or a brute; however, Odysseus goes forward with his plan because he believes the Cyclops will listen to him since the gods are on his side. In this instance, Odysseus is calling himself powerful because he has the support of the gods especially Zeus, when he threatens the Cyclops that “Zeus avenges strangers and suppliants” (IX. 262). If his ego was not already high, Odysseus boosts it even more when he believes that he has outsmarted the Cyclops by not falling into the trap of telling the location of his ships (IX.273-277). At this point, Odysseus
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