Analysis Of ' The Odyssey ' Essay

Analysis Of ' The Odyssey ' Essay

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When I was around the age of 12, I found a book containing a collection of Greek myths. I still remember reading through that book and being fascinated by the stories. The main appeal, besides the entertainment, was that they immersed me in another culture. I may not have got to travel to another country, but I got to learn about a culture I knew little about. If someone had to take away one thing, from greek mythology or any other story, is the understanding of a culture that is not your own. Mythology teaches us what they value, how they view the natural world, and a large amount of mythos gives us lessons that transcend cultures.
The first, and arguably the most important, lesson is not always apparent the first time through. The Poets that create and tell these myths, usually share the same culture with their audience. The poet assumes that the listener already knows about their societal norms. Meaning the cultural values are typically a subtext in a myth. In The Odyssey a recurring theme is the Greek practice of Xenia. Xenia is a ritual practice of hospitality. Xenia consists of two basic rules, the host must respect the guest and the guest must respect the host. The reason the suitors were justly killed was a result of their failure to respect their host. The reason Odysseus waited for the cyclops was that he valued Xenia and he believed Polyphemus would host him and his crew. Thankfully some stories are more plain with their lessons. The story of Baucis and Philemon is about a couple who, despite their lack of wealth, hosted two strangers that know one else would. In typical Greco-Roman fashion the strangers were actually Jupiter and Mercury. Baucis and Philemon were saved from the towns punishment, and on their deaths th...


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...ust never attempt to be like the gods, the gods in greek mythology are almost too human in the their actions. The concept that no matter how powerful someone is, even a god, everyone has the capacity to make mistakes, do wrong, and have flaws. Just like every ideology a culture believes in, their religion shaped who they were and what they would become.Their awareness that everyone has inherent flaws possibly influenced them into creating the first democracy. It is also possible that their religion was shaped due to their terrible leaders.
The main appeal to mythology might just be that it is incredibly fun, but there are some legitimate lessons within every myth. Whether that lesson be their values, the etiology of the natural world, or even lessons that transcend cultures and tell us a little more about human nature, myths allow us to see the world in a new way.


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