Xenophobia in Homer's Oddyssey

Topics: Odyssey, Panic, Telemachus Pages: 1 (316 words) Published: November 27, 2013
In Book 6 of the Odyssey, a reoccurring theme is Xenophobia- more commonly known as the irrational fear of someone or something foreign.

The greatest example of xenophobia in this book is in lines 148-153 on page 172. “So Odysseus moved out… about to mingle with all those lovely girls, naked now as he was, for the need drove him on, a terrible sight, all crusted, caked with brine0 they scattered in panic down the jutting beaches,”

In this scene in the book, Odysseus is woken up by Nausicaa’s maids playing in the river. When he comes out of the bushes and the maids take sight of him, they are frightened and they run away from him. They do this most likely because he is a foreign stranger and they are unfamiliar with him. They are also frightened because Odysseus appears out of the bushed naked.

This scene reflects xenophobia because Nausicaa’s maids have an irrational fear towards Odysseus, who is a stranger. Nausicaa is the only one who does not show xenophobia because instead of running away like her maids, she chooses to stay out and confront Odysseus. This suggests to the readers that Nausicaa was raised to be a strong, fearless person. Although, Nausicaa’s quality proved to be a good one, in other cases it may not be. Had Nausicaa met someone other than Odysseus, the result may not have been the same. If the person she had met had ill intentions, Nausicaa could have ended up being harmed, which would have been wrong judgement on her part.

For a reader, this might be an example of the “proper way” to act towards strangers. Becasue Nausicaa is a Princess, she shows an amount of authority, and also people might look up to her as always doing the right thing. If Nausicaa sets and example in this book people may begin to follow it.
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