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... [continues]
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(1999, 10). The Odyssey Report. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Odyssey-Report-2873.html
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"The Odyssey Report." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Odyssey-Report-2873.html.