The Importance Of Food In The Odyssey

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The Ancient Greeks had numerous traditions and qualities that were greatly unique in relation to the ones we are acquainted with today. They were very hospitable, which led to them celebrating guests by hosting feasts in their honor. Food helped to serve as an indicator for social status as well. The higher up you were, the more elegant and extravagant your meals would be. However, in the epic poem The Odyssey, food means more than its literal representation, it is also a symbol of temptation. The beginning scenes in the epic poem discuss the importance of food when it is shown that many of Odysseus’s men did not return home from war after giving in to the temptation of a luxurious meal. The text states that “Children and fools, they killed and feasted on the cattle of Lord Helios, the Sun, and he who…show more content…
Line 100-104). The description of the Lotus plant is even tempting all on its own. The lotus blossom immediately is associated with strong and sweet fragrances, thus making the idea of eating the plant appealing. For the men journeying across the seas with Odysseus, this was a huge temptation, mostly because of its mysterious qualities and its promise of escape. Because some of his men succumb to this food, it is clear, as it is in several other scenes, that Odysseus’ men lack self-control. Although Odysseus himself does not fall victim to the temptation of the Lotus Eaters and is successfully able to drag and lock them away, it is significant that the food itself is not enough to lure him from his intended course. This shows the self-control that Odysseus has for the temptation of food and is not glutinous unlike his men. Although Odysseus’ men are constantly tempted by food, when they give into such temptation, it is always punished. While the Lotus Eaters may be able to harmless indulge their appetites, these men, because they are under the watch of the gods, never get away with their efforts to indulge in food. Another instance occurs in the cave of
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