Hospitality And Destiny In The Odyssey And Sundiata

1743 words - 7 pages

Princeton's Wordnet defines hospitality as "[the act of] cordial reception: [or] kindness in welcoming guests or strangers." Since the start of this semester, we have read about two different journeys in which hospitality plays an important role in fulfilling the destiny of the main character. In Homer's Odyssey, many examples of this are apparent, whether they are for the benefit or the downfall of the protagonist Odysseus. However, Odysseus is not the only one whom hospitality rules. His son Telemachus also is affected by his hospitality towards others. In Niane's Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, the theme of hospitality runs thick throughout the narrative, as Sundiata is greatly affected by how the other characters receive him. If it were not for the hospitable acts shown to both of the weary travelers, Odysseus and Sundiata may not have been able to return to their homeland.The extreme observance of hospitality in the two texts may be compared with the golden rule: treat others, as you would like to be treated. The rule of hospitality may also be applied to the gods. In the time of Odysseus, gods or deities could take the form of humans or alter human appearance. If a stranger showed up at your door, you might not know whether they are mortal or immortal. If you turned away a god or someone loved by the gods, this could anger them and in turn they could avenge your inhospitable act. The gods might respond with not giving you a good harvest or make your life a complete hell, as Poseidon did to the journey of Odysseus.Good hospitality was to be displayed towards everyone, no matter age or gender. In The Odyssey, not only was Odysseus treated well by the lords of the lands he visited, but, his young son, Telemachus, was treated with respect. In Sundiata, hospitality was not only showed towards men, but also women. When Sassouma forced Sogolon into exile, the neighboring lands and kings she and her children encountered treated them with generosity.In The Odyssey many hospitable acts were displayed before kings even knew who had ventured to their land. When Telemachus travels to Pylos seeking information about his father, King Nestor treated him and Pallas Athena with much respect. As they approached the citadel King Nestor and his son spotted them. "As soon as they saw the strangers, all came crowding down, urging them to sit. Nestor's son Pisistratus, first to reach them, grasped their hands and sat them down at the feast on fleecy throws" (Homer 108, lines 39-44). This demonstrates how welcoming the Pylians are towards strangers. This is truly a hospitable greeting because the Pylians were not just carousing around, but in fact were involved in a feast in honor of the god Poseidon. They invited these foreign guests in as if they were members of the royal family to take part in the feast.Menelaus, like Nestor, treated his guest as part of the royal family before knowing their names. Menelaus provided Telemachus and Pisistratus with food but not...

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