Essay about Greek Hospitality in The Odyssey

Essay about Greek Hospitality in The Odyssey

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Greek Hospitality in The Odyssey

The Greeks have been known for their hospitality and politeness, especially when treating guests- whether strangers or not. This is demonstrated near the beginning of the Odyssey when Telemachus went to Pylos to visit Nestor. Nestor, not knowing who he was taking into his home as guests, treated them with great honor and respect. "Now is the time," he said, "for a few questions, now that our young guests have enjoyed their dinner. Who are you, strangers? Where are you sailing from, and where to, down the highways of sea water (p 299)?" If ever Greeks were to serve themselves before their guests or even a little better than them, then they were breaking the most basic of all Greek customs, for this tradition of hospitality was passed down from generation to generation, and breaking it would bring embarrassment and dishonor upon the home.

Learning the Greek rituals and after practicing them for many years, Odysseus, Odysseus' shipmates, and Telemachus became very reliant Greek tradition, especially that of treating all guests with great hospitality. At many times Odysseus would not have made it back to his wife and kingdom if it was not for the Greek tradition, that he relied on. After being at sea for seventeen days on a raft he had constructed, Odysseus spotted land. Poseidon then brought about a terrible storm, which wrecked his raft. After two days of battling waves that brought him near death, Odysseus was finally helped by a sea nymph onto the shore of Scheria. Once reaching the shore he kissed the earth, crawled under some olive trees, and fell asleep. Later, Princess Nausicca and her young friends went to the shore of Scheria to wash their clothes. Playin...


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...o all guests saved Odysseus and helped him return home to his wife, son, and kingdom. Even though people from many different kingdoms and islands took Odysseus in their home and showed him great kindness on his return home, the individual who helped him most was the goddess Athena. In many occasions Athena assisted Odysseus. One such example is when Odysseus was fighting of the suitors and they threw spears at him. "Re-forming, the suitors threw again with all their strength, but Athena turned their shots, or all but two (p 566)." Another instance which Athena aided Odysseus was when she disguised him as a beggar on his arrival to his homeland. "Would even you have guessed that I am Pallas Athena, daughter of Zeus, I that am always with you in times of trial, a shield to you in battle (p 444)." "Your goddess-guardian to the end in all your trials (p 539)."

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