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The Odyssey - how does Homer use a variety a settings to explore the theme of hospitality?

Uploaded by Adelle on May 04, 2002

Throughout the book, The Odyssey, Homer uses a variety of settings to explore the theme of hospitality. Hospitality in the ancient world was very important. A visitor to a palace, would receive immediate hospitality, as the host can only presume they might be a God. Hospitality in The Odyssey included being bathed, rubbed with oils by beautiful maids, dressed in cloaks or tunics, feed lavish foods and appetizing wines. The host did not dare to ask any questions until the guest was fully satisfied. After the hospitality is shown, its then the host can ask questions. The Odyssey embraces many exciting and thrilling journeys in which Odysseus and Telemachus visit advantaged and disadvantaged palaces. Homer shows good hospitality when Telemachus goes to Menelaus palace to seek news of his father, when Odysseus arrives on the land of the Phaecians, and also when in Eumaeus’ Hut. Homer also explores the theme of bad hospitality through Book 9 when Odysseus and his men go to the Cyclops whom does not give hospitality to strangers, and also when Odysseus goes to Circe’s house, whom which turns some of his men into pigs.

In Book 4, Telemachus visits the palace of Menelaus and Helen, only to find they are celebrating the weddings of his son and lovely daughter. Telemachus feels it is impolite to stay, as it is a family gathering. Menelaus graciously invites them in and orders his servant Eteoneus to unleash their horses and then bring the guests to join the feast. Throughout this book, Homer goes into great detail explaining every detail of Menelaus’ grand palace. Homer tells the reader that Telemachus “…went and bathed in polished baths, and after the maids had washed them, rubbed them with oil and dressed them in thick cloaks and tunics, they took their places on chairs at the side of noble Menelaus, son of Atreus…a carver served them with plates of various meats he had selected from his board, and put gold cups beside them.”(Line 46-59 Book 4). The way in which Homer explores hospitality through the character Menelaus is very appealing. His is one of the most well mannered men in The Odyssey and is very well known for his good hospitality. As Homer always uses the theme of hospitality in each of his books, Menelaus’ hospitality towards Telemachus would be one of the most memorable segments of the book.

In book 6, after nineteen...

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Uploaded by:   Adelle

Date:   05/04/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   7 pages (1,510 words)

Views:   2070

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