The Role of Hospitality

Topics: Odyssey, Odysseus, Trojan War Pages: 2 (820 words) Published: December 12, 2005
The Role of Hospitality

Hospitality plays a very big role in Greek life throughout The Odyssey. It was by this code of conduct that people were able to travel without the fear of being rejected and having nowhere to stay when they arrived at their destination or at a stage on their journey. A host never knew if the beggar on his/her doorstep was a god in disguise. Such paranoia and religious beliefs kept most of the characters in The Odyssey on their best behavior, but others had no manners to begin with. In Greek religion travelers were protected by the head god, Zeus. He was supposed to take care of them and keep them safe while they were away from home. They, in turn, were to act in an according manner. When welcomed into a house, one was supposed to be gracious and not demand more than the owner could give. His stay was not to impose too much of a burden on the household or the means of survival for that house. Rarely were visitors asked to leave, but if they were, the wishes of the hose were to be satisfied. If a traveler were courteous and not demanding, he was following the rules of hospitality laid down by the gods. Owners of a household would welcome anyone, whether it was a hero or just some poor beggar. But there were those who didn't welcome any guests in their home, and for that reason punished those who came into their home. The main point of discussion here is that one can be very gracious and hospitable but if it upsets a god in any way they could be punished or killed for it which should be wrong. One of the most gracious showings of hospitality throughout The Odyssey was when Odysseus arrived at Alcinous's palace, the land of the Phaeacians. Alcinous and his men show Odysseus great generosity, supplying Odysseus with food and shelter, before learning who Odysseus is. Alcinous proves his generosity to Odysseus in that he is willing to send a convoy to escort Odysseus home. "I don't know who he is, but he has come in his wandering to my...

Cited: Homer. The Odysses. New York: Penquin Group, 1996
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