Hospitality in the Odyssey
One might argue that part of the factor that it takes Odysseus 10 years to return to his homeland after his success in Troy is that he undergoes the obligation of accepting the inviting hospitality of people he fulfills along his course. Hospitality is a very fundamental part of social exchange and honour in the Odyssey and this essay will aim to analyze a couple of such instances and comment on the numerous means of friendliness and the punishments arising from unfriendliness in the Homeric society.
The very first instance of the function of hospitality that will be analyzed is when Telemachus sets off from Ithaca to look for Nestor, followed by Odysseus’s encounter with the Phaeacians and Princess Nausicaa. These circumstances of hospitality in The Odyssey were used as an instrument to tell the reader who were the lead characters and who were the villains. All of the excellent characters right away took Odysseus or his son Telemachus into their houses and fed them.
None of the villains in the story ever displayed any kind of hospitality towards Odysseus or Telemachus, such as the circumstances in which Odysseus and his guys land on the island of Polyphemos, the one-eyed kid of Poseidon. The very first instance showing the value of hospitality comes early in the story when Telemachus lands in Pylos in order to talk to King Nestor. When he lands he is greeted by Nestor’s child, Peisistratus, and is welcomed to a banquet at the palace that is going on that night, without any questions about who he was and what he was doing there.
It was not up until after they had feasted and made themselves comfortable in the palace that they were asked questions about their origins and their ways of going to Nestor. “As quickly as they saw the strangers, all came crowding down, waving them on in welcome, prompting them to sit. “(Homer, Book 3) This demonstration of great will towards Telemachus and Athena suggests to us, the readers, that it appears to have actually been a fairly common practice in ancient Greek society to use guests food and entertainment before the business at hand is attended to. “Now’s the time, now they’ve enjoyed their meal, to penetrate our visitors and find out who they are. (Book 3) Nestor’s extensive questioning into the factors for his guests to be visiting him reveal not just a possible sense of curiosity, however likewise maybe act as a method to unmask those who visit him with ill-intentions. This can be seen in Nestor’s wise inquiry, “Who are you stranger? Recklessly roaming the sea as pirates do while staking their lives and bringing ills to alien individuals”(Book 3) Revealing that the fantastic hospitality towards unfamiliar visitors was not just to captivate, however also to safeguard themselves and make buddies with possible opponents that had actually pertained to search their land.
Now we observe the hospitality given onto Odysseus when he washes up on the Phaecian coast and Princess Nausicaa and her house maids discover him and clothe him and wash him. The Phaecians chose not to have contact with others, so for that reason he might not have actually been invited into the king’s halls as a visitor. However, the princess noticed no evil in Odysseus’s character and that is why she gave him a warm welcome. “Every complete stranger and beggar originates from Zeus, and whatever scrap we give him, he’ll be thankful to get.
So, fast, my girls, give our newfound buddy some food and drink and bathe the male in the river, any place you find some shelter from the wind”(Book 6) Despite the fact that Odysseus should have appeared challenging, Nausicaa felt obliged to help, providing him recommendations on how to properly win favour with her daddy. “If just the queen will take you to her heart, then there is hope that you will see your liked ones, reach your own grand home, your native land at last. “(Book 6) With the help from Nausicaa, Odysseus pleaded to Queen Arete and King Alkinus offered Odysseus a chair of honour, a silver studded chair that came from his child Lodamas. Book 7) The Phaecians showered Odysseus with presents, offering him great honour without knowing who he was, providing him a quick ship and a crew for his journey home. They likewise offered him fine clothing and gold, and Alkinus offered Odysseus a stunning white wine cup for libation to the gods, so that whenever Odysseus offered a sacrifice to the gods he would remember Alkinus. Before entrusting the Phaecian’s ship and guys, Odysseus finally exposes his true self to Alkinus and the Phaecians.
Despite the fact that the king knew of his father’s prophecy, Alkinus sent his fifty-two guys with Odysseus understanding that they would not return which he would incur the wrath of Poseidon due to the fact that he required to meet his pledge and send his visitor house. Just as the practice of excellent hospitality was respected and rewarded, bad hospitality had its effects; incurring the rage of the gods. A bad host did things that were ill-mannered and harmful, such as: consuming people, trying to kill them, or both. The same method Polyphemos the Cyclops does to Odysseus and his males after he traps them in his cave.
Polyphemos informed Odysseus that he would not honour Zeus’s code of hospitality, since he was not afraid of the gods. “I ‘d never ever spare you in worry of Zeus’s hatred, you or your comerades here …”(Book 9) Some might argue that Polyphemos never got any punishment for his disobediences onto his brand-new guests, however, after consuming Odysseus’s males, Odysseus and the staying males wanted their vengeance and they seized their “… stake with its intense idea and bored it round and round in the giant’s eye till blood came boiling up around that smoking cigarettes shaft and the hot blast singed his brow and eyelids round the core and the broiling eyeball burst. (Book 9) and thanks to Odysseus’s cunning, when Polyphemos cried out for assistance there was nobody who pertained to his help. Therefore, letting Polyphemos receive the appropriate punishment that he should have and allowing Odysseus to precise his vengeance and escape. Amongst all cultural aspects of ancient Greek society embodied in The Odyssey, hospitality was the most prominent. Almost every encounter in the impressive exhibited some type of hospitality.
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Only enemies did not feed and shelter each other, revealing that the ancient Greeks valued a social society in which each person was obliged to assist others when in requirement. Ancient Greek culture and The Odyssey teach us that if you dine with and provide gifts to your visitors, the gods will view you as a good host and will reward you, however if you do not show good hospitality to your guests, even the bad, there will be serious, perhaps even fatal effects.
No matter the eminence of a visitor, whether it is Telemachus at the palace of Pylos, or Odysseus in the world of Alkinus, a guest is respected and dealt with, if this does not happen, the host is seriously penalized. Hospitality played a significant function in determining an individual’s social status, claiming that just the bad and uncivilized were not able or reluctant to accommodate guests. Offering the proper offerings of hospitality was the very best thing that the ancient Greeks could perform in order to appease the gods, because they never ever knew if they were in the presence of a god.