The Theme Of Hospitality In Homer's Odyssey

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Today it is quite frightening to stay in a stranger’s home, but in The Odyssey, it is common to do so. The Odyssey, a novel written by Homer in the twelfth century B.C.E. (Who Was Homer?), is about Odysseus’ journey home to Ithaca, his gentle wife Penelope, and his maturing son Telemachus after the Trojan War. In this novel, the theme of hospitality occurs frequently. Hospitality is the act of being welcoming to others by giving the guest food, drink, clothes, a place to rest, and a bath. Being hospitable in Homeric Greece is so significant, that it is a part of their culture. The critical nature of adherence to hospitality is found in King Nestor and Menelaos when Telemachus visits them, Polyphemus an inhospitable cyclops that…show more content…
But what you say now is a child’s foolish prattle. How often have we eaten the food of a stranger, you and I, in other parts of the world, on our long journey home, praying that Zeus might somewhere give us rest and peace at last. Go and take out their horses, and bring the men in to share our feast” (41). This quote shows that Menelaos adheres to the critical nature of hospitality, and acts this way because that is how he has been treated in the past. Also, a part of adhering to hospitality is giving the guest a stranger’s gift that the visitor expects. For example, Athena speaks to Telemachos in the middle of the night as he is sleeping in Menelaos’ palace, and says that he must return back to Ithaca at once. But, his partner Peisistratos responds by saying, “My dear man, why all this hurry? We can’t travel at night in this darkness; it will be morning soon. At least wait till his Grace the royal champion Menelaos can bring his presents, and put them in the car, and bid us an affectionate farewell before we go. That's what a guest remembers to his dying day, when a hospitable man has been kind to him”…show more content…
First, Athena makes a plan for Odysseus to meet Princess Nausicaa on Phaiacia. The two Greeks do meet, and even though Odysseus is a complete stranger, which the Phaiacians are not fond of, that Nausicaa is aware of, the princess welcomes Odysseus and makes a plan for him to stay in her father Alcinoos’ palace. When Odysseus arrives in the palace of Alcinoos, he is given a throne in which Alcinoos’ son Laodamas was previously sitting in, and is given a feast. “There they were, face to face: the King in his majesty, and the castaway with only his knowledge of man and his ready wit. Alcinoos held his hand out to Odysseus and led him from the hearth to a high seat where his own son was sitting, near himself, for he loved the courteous Laodamas best of all his sons. He moved his son out of that seat and placed Odysseus there. A servant brought the hand-wash, poured it from a golden jug over a silver basin to rinse his hands; then set a table beside him. A dignified housewife brought bread and laid the table with all sorts of food, and plenty of it. Then the strong man ate and drank after all his troubles” (87). As well as feeding, bathing, and bedding Odysseus, Alcinoos agrees to convey Odysseus back to Ithaca, and protect the warrior from harm until he reaches his destination. The Phaiacian royals show that they adhere to the critical nature
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