Eternal Return In Odysseus In Homer's Odyssey

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Homer’s Odyssey was a series of episodes and not a codified text. There are many symmetries in the work, one of which is the symmetry between Telemachus’ proper treatment as a guest by the King Menelaus and Odysseus’ is proper treatment by Phaeacians. This supports the Eliade’s theory of “eternal return” in the sense that both the hosts follow Law of Xenia. They treat Odysseus and Telemachus respectfully as guests and arrange for their departure. Eliade’s theory of eternal return can be related to reoccurrences that seem to be identical but are not identical. There are a few differences that prove that the experience of Odysseus is similar to Telemachus’, but not identical. The way Odysseus is treated is not identical to the way Telemachus …show more content…
Following the Law of Xenia, Telemachus is treated with high respect because he is their guest. After he arrives there, the women of Menelaus’s palace bath him. Respecting his guest, Menelaus then celebrates Telemachus’ arrival with a feast. Menelaus does not question him about his identity but instead says “Help yourselves to food, and welcome! Once you’ve dined we’ll ask you who you are” (4.68). Thus, Menelaus follows the Law of Xenia and develops guest-host relationship. The king then starts to talk about Odysseus. After hearing about his father, Telemachus starts crying. He also promises Telemachus that he will send Telemachus off with pricey gifts so that he remembers Menelaus all his days. Moreover, he also promises to provide him with horses and a chariot, which can serve as …show more content…
It seems as if the incident that happened with Telemachus had repeated again, but this time in a slightly different way. Odysseus had sailed out for the Trojan war and Telemachus sailed out to find about his father but both were expecting to go back home when they arrive at their respective guests. Telemachus and Odysseus are going back home, but Menelaus sent Telemachus and Phaeacians sent Odysseus. Both were entertained lavishly and sent off with precious gifts. Telemachus is offered a splendid chariot and team of horses by Menelaus and Odysseus is offered the hand of Nausicaa by Alcinous. But, both Telemachus and Odysseus don’t accept the offerings. Telemachus and Odysseus are welcomed with respect and celebration, and sent back when they wanted to go back. There was a instance were Odysseus starts crying. Similarly, there was an instance where Telemachus starts crying. Both of them cry, but they cry for different reasons. Telemachus starts crying Alcanious talks about his father’s bravery and Odysseus starts crying when he hears the song of harper about him. All these incidents show how Odysseus experience was similar to Telemachus’, but not identical. However, the Eliade’s theory is most prominently supported by the similarity in the case of Telemachus’ interactions with his hosts and the interaction

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