Essay about Analysis Of The Poem ' The Odyssey '

Essay about Analysis Of The Poem ' The Odyssey '

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There were many customs in Ancient Greece that we no longer follow in todays’ society. One of these customs is hospitality. Todays’ society would not celebrate strangers in their homes by hosting feasts in their honor, but this is exactly what they would do in ancient Greece. During these feasts the food would help denote the hosts social status; the more elegant and erotic the food, the higher you were on the social ladder. When looking at the epic poem The Odyssey, food has much more than a literal representation. As it is also seen as a symbol of temptation. Homer begins The Odyssey with a passage about why most of Odysseus’ men did not make it home from their voyage. It says “the recklessness of their own ways destroyed them all, the blind fools, they devoured the calf of the Sun and the Sungod wiped from sight the day of their return” (Book 1, 8-10). In this passage the audience sees’ the reason for Odysseus’ long and hard journey. His shipmates did not listen to the instructions they were given and because they were famished, they ate the cows without the permission of the Sungod and they were severely punished for it. Throughout The Odyssey Homer successfully uses food as a symbol of temptation.
The passage above represents the first instance that we see in “The Odyssey” that feasting, greediness in food consumption and the basic disregard for anything besides human appetite will appear. For many characters the ultimate temptation of food comes in wine, meat, and bread these things are enough to coax them away from their intended path. In many occurrences their failure to resist temptation is punished in one way or another. While, Odysseus’ shipmates get punished with death, Odysseus is punished with a delayed journey back...


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...ngry, tired, and homesick men accompanying Odysseus, the image of a plain plate of bread or cheese is plenty of temptation. When this transpires, at the cave of the Cyclops, the punishment is immediate. For Odysseus himself, however, his strength and god-like nature are beyond such base temptations and he is instead susceptible to the double-temptation of exotic and richly described foods coupled with a woman. While having a delayed journey back to his wife and estate punishes Odysseus, this is relatively minor compared to fates of others who were punished for their submission to the temptation of food by death. Odysseus sanctions the final punishment for gluttony, temptation, and sloth on the suitors living off of his land and livestock and so the theme of food images, temptation, and punishment is seen through the end of the epic poem with Odysseus’ heroic return.

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Essay about Analysis Of The Poem ' The Odyssey '

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