Examples Of Xenia In The Odyssey

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The Odyssey by Homer is an epic poem about the adventures that Odysseus goes through on his journey back home after the trojan war. Odysseus is portrayed as a hero throughout the story, leading his comrades and saving his family from the suitors. While this is happening, Odysseus can be seen to exemplify hubris and kleos; greek terms one of which means excessive pride and the other respect and honor. The Odyssey also covers xenia; the hospitality and respect that goes mutually from a guest to a host, as an important topic in which the gods are involved heavily in. With all this in mind, Odysseus can be seen as more of an antagonist in contrast to what some may think. Odysseus shows hubris and disregards xenia multiple times throughout the tale, …show more content…

When Odysseus and his crew flee from Polyphemus after blinding him, Odysseus “[yells] back with another burst of anger, ‘Cyclops–if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so–say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye, Laertes’ son who makes his home in Ithaca!’” (Homer, 9.558-562). When Odysseus is said to yell with a “burst of anger”, this indicates that he isn't in his usual state of mind, he is riled up and blinded by emotions which can cause someone to not think before they say act. This is unheroic of Odysseus because of how irresponsible it is to give his information out on a whim, especially with a crew of men that he needs to lead, he needs to set a good example. Some may argue that Odysseus shared his information because of kleos which can show how heroic he is for defeating a cyclops, however, instead of gaining kleos, he became an enemy of Poseidon, the father of Polyphemus. Because of this, Odysseus is always faced with wrath from Poseidon which renders his journey back nearly impossible, which shows that he doesn't think of the consequences ahead of time and acts in the heat of the moment. Another example of Odysseus’ hubris can be seen in Book 12 when they encounter Scylla, a six-headed monster. Although Circe warns him ahead of time of Scylla and is given advice on how …show more content…

The suitors have plagued his house, overstaying their visit and taking advantage of the xenia that Penelope and Telemechas prove. Odysseus is infuriated, and as a response to this, “He’s killed the suitors, swaggering young brutes who plagued his house, wolfed his cattle down, rode roughshod over his son!” (Homer, 23.8-10). When confronted with the suitors, Odysseus’ only response is to slaughter them all, showing how ruthless and irresponsible he is. Although some may argue that Odysseus’ response to this is reasonable because of what the suitors have done to his palace and family, Odysseus’ response is exaggerated and unjust. Instead of killing all of the suitors, Odysseus could’ve jailed them or make them pay a fee, however he slaughters all of them brutally. An important addition to this is that the suitors are all of nobility and have high social status, which can cause Odysseus lots of complications when dealing with the aftermath of the massacre. He could lose his title as king, his kleos, or even his kingdom could go against him because of his killing of all of the suitors. This shows how unheroic he is, acting on his emotions and not taking into consideration the consequences of his

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