The Odyssey Report

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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...
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