To what extent does Homer show Phaeacian society to be perfectly civilized?
In book 6 and 7 of the Odyssey our hero, Odysseus is first introduced to the Phaeacian society. We can see from the beginning of book 6 to the end of book 7 that the Phaeacians want to do nothing but help our broken-down, distressed and homesick hero, who wants nothing more than to return to his home land of Ithica. They help him get back on his feet and on his way again. “I now appoint a day for your departure home: tomorrow. You shall lie deep in sleep while they row you over tranquil seas,” They show an immeasurable amount of hospitality toward Odysseus, putting a fine roof over his head, the finest clothes on his back and the most luxurious of foods and wines in his stomach. “White-armed Arete gave her maids instructions to put a bed in the portico and to furnish it with the finest purple rugs, spread coverlets over these and add warm blankets on top.” These people show great xenia to Odysseus allowing him to sit in Alcinous’ favourite son’s chair, showing the reader that Odysseus is more than welcome in their society.
The way in which the Phaeacians treat the Gods is considered to be truly civilized. “Tell your squires to mix some more wine so that we can make a fresh libation, to Zeus the Thunderer, patron of suppliants, who deserve respect. And let the housekeeper give him (Odysseus) a meal from all she has available.” Here we see authentic hospitality and civilized behaviour towards a stranger they have just met. They are showing respect to the Gods by preparing a fresh libation for them to wish for goodness and hope for this weary traveller. They show that the Gods are a very important part of their lifestyle and that they do not think that they are better than the Gods in any way. “I wish- by Zeus, and Athene and Poseidon….” These people are believers of the Gods and wish for nothing more than to serve and please them.
Overall I feel that the Phaeacian society could...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document