Guest-Host Relationships Within the Odyssey (Citations Included)

Topics: Odyssey, Trojan War, Odysseus Pages: 3 (921 words) Published: March 5, 2008
According to Webster's New World Dictionary a political relationship could be "social relationships involving authority or power," which makes guest-host relationships political because the host almost always has authority over the guest since the host is in his own town/ kingdom, while the guest is in a foreign place. The way that one may treat a guest in today's time and the way that guests were treated in Ancient Greece and The Odyssey differ greatly. 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-hosts, good results ensue. In contrast, the violations of this ethical norm results in misfortune. This idea was taken very seriously by people of Ancient Greece and it can also 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 addresses 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.(The Odyssey 44)" 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"(The Odyssey 44). This shows that Menelaos must be a good host especially to give them shelter during a wedding. 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 father's 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...
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