Odyssey Hospitality Essay

724 words - 3 pages

Odyssey Hospitality

Hospitality In The Odyssey by Homer, hospitality plays a very important role. There are certain rules of hospitality needed, such as inviting a stranger into your home, not asking them their name before they have dined at your table, and sometimes even gift offerings. If these rules of hospitality are not carried out, the consequences are very severe. Hospitality is to be given to all by all. Being a good host is very important in The Odyssey, even to the gods. It is a sign of respect for all no matter where they are from or how poor they appear to be. This means that as soon as you see a stranger, you invite them into your home to sit at your table just as king Nestor did. "As soon as they saw the strangers, all came crowding down, waving them on in welcome, urging them to
sit." (III, 38) After you have invited them into your home, you must invite them to dine at your table. Only after they have dined, you have the permission to ask for their names, like King Menelaus did, "'Help yourselves to food, and welcome! Once you've dined we'll ask you who you are.'" (IV, 68-69) Many times before dining "...women had washed them, rubbed them down with oil and drawn warm fleece and shirts around their shoulders..." (IV, 56-57) If the host enjoyed the company of the guests, many times they will honor them with gifts.

The kind of gifts given varied depending on the wealth and generosity of the host. For example, Aeolus, the king of the winds, gave Odysseus a leather bag which contained all the adverse winds which could drive his ships off course. Other generous gift givers are the Phaeacians who give Odysseus many valuable gifts, such as "...bronze and hoards of gold and robes..." (XIII, 155) and transported him to Ithaca in one of their magic ships. If you are unable to host the strangers, it is your duty to "send them to someone who could host them well". (IV, 34) Although, if the host is not willing to help, it is considered to be bad hospitality and proper punishments will be...

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