"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
The Odyssey Report
In The Odyssey , Homer uses guest-host relationships as an ethical norm against which behavior is measured. When the ritual is preformed correctly by guest-host, good results ensue. In contrast, the violations of this ethical norm results in misfortune. This idea was taken very seriously by people of that time and it can be found throughout the story.
A great example of a guest host relationship where both the guest and the host behave properly is the relationship between Telemachos and King Menelaos. As a guest Telemachos treats his host with respect and dignity. He address menelaos as "my lord" to give reverence to his kindness and to be polite. Telemachos is very complimentary to his host by saying "Zeus must have such a place" when referring to menelaos\' house. He does this to let him know that he will be a good guest and that he is a proper gentleman. Menelaos shows that he to can be a good host and gives Telemachos food and shelter even when there is a wedding going on. He says "go and take out their horses, and bring the men in to share our feast". This shows that menelaos must be a good guest especially to give them shelter during a wedding. Menelaos also does not pressure Telemachos into answering any questions before he eats and enjoys the festivities; nor does he give any indication that he wants Telemachos to leave. He says "stay here in my mansion for ten or twelve days and then I will give you a good send off and a handsome gift, three horses and a chariot: I will give you a fine chalice too, that when you pour your drop to the immortal gods you may think of me all your days". This statement shows that not only does he wish Telemachos to stay but that he is a very generous man indeed. Due to kindness of both men good things are bound to ensue. For Telemachos the good outcome he receives is the accurate news of his fathers whereabouts. For Menelaos the good outcome is that whenever he may need help Telemachos is always there for him.
Another example in which there is a good host and a good guest is the relationship between Odysseus and Eumaios, the swine herd. Despite Odysseus\' appearance as a beggar, since he is in disguise, Eumaios treats him with the same respect as he would any person. He takes him into his home and tells him to "eat away" and to enjoy himself. Also Eumaios "laid a bed for him near the fire, a heap of sheepskins, and their Odysseus lay down". This is a good indication that the swineherd is a good host. Odysseus returns this kindness by saying "I pray Zeus may bless you as I do, for the honour you have done" as a way to show his thankfulness and his gratitude. He also shares his stories of the past as a way to amuse his host. Odysseus continues by regarding Eumaios as "my friend" as a way to let him know he is very appreciative. When Telemachos enters Odysseus, the beggar, offers his seat at the table, but Telemachos being the good guest that he is refuses the seat. Thus Telemachos can be considered again as another good guest. Their rewards are that Odysseus finds out about the suitors and that Eumaios is a faithful person to him. Odysseus also gains a warrior in the battle against the suitors. Eumaios\' reward is that his life is spared by Odysseus. Odysseus also says "I will find wives for both of you, and give you land and well built houses close to myself; and you shall be friends and brothers of my son Telemachos". This is a great honor especially for a swineherd. Finally, even Telemachos is rewarded for his kindness; he is made aware of the beggar\'s true identity as being his father and their conquer over the suitors.
However not all guest-host relationships are ones in which the guest and the host act properly. For instance, the relationship between Odysseus and Polyphemos, the cyclops. When Odysseus first arrives at the cave of Polyphemos it says he "walked briskly to the cave, but found him not at home...so
View Full Essay
Greek mythology, Odysseus, Odyssey, Eumaeus, Penelope, Telemachus, Polyphemus, Xenia, Athletics in epic poetry
More Free Essays Like This