Themes of the Odyssey

In The Odyssey hospitality is noted as one of the main themes seen throughout the entire story and is one of the most significant key concepts; without hospitality nothing can be achieved or civilized. In books 6-8 of

The Odyssey the theme of hospitality is apparent through the actions of the Phaecians. Odysseus is washed upon the island of Scheria, and is found by the daughter of Alcinous, king of the Phaecians and is treated with utmost respect and hospitality, seated in the guests’ place of honor. Homer also explores the theme of hospitality, where Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, approaches his old and faithful servant, the swineherd, Eumaeus, and his son, Telemachus.

Odysseus gets up from the chair to give Telemachus room to sit but is stopped and instead is welcomed to sit for himself. “Friend, sit down; we’ll find another chair in our own hut… (692).” Even though Telemachus has just arrived home after a long journey from Sparta and Pylos he still kindly welcomes the stranger to sit while he waits for Eumaeus to make him a new pile of evergreens and fleeces tomany more other examples of hospitality in the book Homer makes us realize and understand how important it is to show hospitality in Greek culture. Hospitality is an important diplomatic and social custom. Homer emphasizes in The Odyssey the significance of hospitality to the point where it is almost a religion. By making these cultural constructs an important part of many of the aspects of the life of the Greeks culture, we humans can learn and put some of their values and morals into our own. The lessons that are exhibited from the Greeks are key not only back in the times of the ancient Greeks, but to this day. Hospitality promotes brotherhood and holds special significance for bringing people closer, with love and kindness. It is the ability to meet the basic needs of aid to external care to person or strangers beyond one’s immediate circle of friends. Most people say the more you love the more it multiplies and you receive back many more times the kindness you give. Hospitality binds people together in bonds of love, increases the value of friendship and makes the atmosphere glow with human warmth. With hospitality we can focus on the positive and believe the universe is basically a friendly place. The Odyssey nearly serves as a Greek guide to hospitality which is such a dominant concept in Greece, and is very useful and needed in to days world. In Homer’s The Odyssey main characters receive warmth hospitality throughout their journeys from others, usually without even to give their names.

Another personal virtue that is a major theme in the epic is loyalty. Loyalty is needed to achieve and learn the importance of goals and values. The most striking example of loyalty in the epic is, of course, Penelope, who waits faithfully for 20 years for her husband’s return. Penelope is so faithful and loyal to the point that even after Odysseus wins the match by stringing the bow, Penelope tests him. “If he really is Odysseus, truly home, beyond all doubt we two shall know each other better than you or anyone. There are two secret signs we know, we two (706).” Another example is Telemachus, who stands by his father against the suitors. Odysseus’ old nurse, Eurycleia, remains loyal to Penelope and her absent master, serving with respect. In the second stanza of Homers The Odyssey it is written: “He saw the town lands and learned the minds of many distant men, and weathered many bitter nights and days I his deep heart at sea, while he fought only to save his life, to bring his shipmates home. But not by will or valor could he save them, for their own recklessness destroyed them all- children and fools they killed and feasted on the cattle of Lord Helios, the Sun… (651).” In this sentence it is very ironic that Odysseus fights to save his life to save his ship mates even though that he can do nothing to save them. But even though Odysseus knows that no matter what he does he can not save his men, he still tries. Another I tried to say ‘Untie me!’ to the crew, jerking my brows; but object. Here Odysseus shows his loyalty once again to his fellow friends and demonstrates his faithfulness.

Without the presence of loyalty a strong relativity can never be built. Such as the relationship between Penelope and Odysseus which brought them together at the end. Loyalty is a virtue that is a must in almost everything human beings take part in life. Loyalty to family, community, and the gods is an important quality in the lives of ancient Greek citizens. These qualities are clearly demonstrated in The Odyssey through Penelope, Telemachus, and Odysseus. Loyalty is a moral standard, and is needed in modern society.