Representation Of Ithaca In Homer's Odyssey
Throughout the Odyssey, Ithaca is constantly hailed as the ideal community, one which Odysseus desperately seeks to return to from the savage and uncivilised lands he journeys through. Homer uses this representation of Ithaca as the ideal Greek community to both emphasise the differences and lack of civilisation in other communities – such as in the land of the Cyclopes – and draw comparisons between more civilised communities encountered by Odysseus, in particular that of the Phaecians. This allows Homer to create some communities which would appear even more alien and magical to his audience, and some which would have an air of familiarity, perhaps contributing to how enrapturing they would have found his tales.
The first half of the Odyssey tells of Odysseus’ struggle to reach his home, the land of Ithaca, where his wife Penelope and son Telemachus wait. Ithaca is described by Odysseus always in very positive terms – he tells Alcinous, king of the Phaecians, that ‘no sight is sweeter to me than Ithaca’ – and he is described as longing for its shores numerous times in the book. Ithaca is very much held up as an example of the ideal community within the Odyssey, and …show more content…
Firstly, the Phaecians are shown to be hospitable to guests, with Nausicaa saying that ‘All strangers, all beggars, are under the protection of Zeus’ demonstrating not only the Phaecians hospitality to guests but also their respect for the gods. This parallels the scene in Ithaca when Telemachus first sees Athena, disguised as Mentes, and immediately says to him, ‘Greetings, stranger. You are welcome here.’ which demonstrates a direct comparison Homer makes between Ithaca and Phaecia, and shows Phaecia as a step towards Odysseus’ return to