Odyssey Greek Hospitality

Essay by sidnokidJunior High, 9th gradeA+, April 2008

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How would you feel if you were a dying stranger and you knocked on a door, asking for food and you were turned down? Now imagine yourself as the same dying stranger, who knocked on the door and the host, not only fed you, but bathed, entertained and showered you with gifts, how would that feel? Ancient Greeks were wonderful hosts who helped a stranger even without wanting to know his name. In Homer's Odyssey, translated by Stanley Lombardo, the same affection and hospitality is observed throughout the story because of the belief that "All strangers and beggars come from Zeus" (14, 208, 66). Odysseus, our protagonist, was on his way home from the Trojan War to meet his wife Penelope and son Telemachus and due to this hospitality is able to get home but somewhat delayed in some instances. What were these duties for?Many people used this hospitality to their advantage, and when Odysseus was talking to Athena, he tells her that "He tried to rob me of all of the loot I took out of Troy-stuff I had sweated for" (13,200,272-273).

His very own host, the one who should keep him alive, tried to destroy him? Yet another instance of a bad host was when the Cyclops saw Odysseus and crew on the island and called him a "dumb stranger" and "wasn't going to spare Odysseus and his crew" (9,132,265-270). This was not very common in those days. Greeks, who were very superstitious, worshiped the god Zeus Xenosis who was supposed to watch over every wanderer, stranger and beggar and they were scared that if they did not be nice to strangers that they would have to suffer. When Antinous is discovered hitting beggars, Odysseus tells him that "You're done for if he turns out to...