Importance Of Hospitality In Greek Mythology

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Hospitality is Expected Not Suggested
Throughout the many Ancient Greek tales written by Edith Hamilton in the book Mythology, the theme of hospitality, along with its rules, expectations, and customs, can be discovered. More specifically, when examining the theme of hospitality and its dependence on the interactions between host and guest, it is revealed that proper or expected hospitality is rewarded while improper or disrespected hospitality is punished. To further explain the importance of this theme in Greek mythology, this report will describe the stories of Baucis and Philemon, Hercules, The Trojan war, and how hospitalities influenced their stories along with the overall Greek culture.
To begin, a story that clearly exemplifies
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Although the entire story of Hercules isn’t fully devoted to the theme of good and bad hospitality, a portion of it very clearly depicts the essence of its importance. As the great hero Hercules continued to repeat his well-known vicious cycle of mistake and repentance, he came to the home of Admetus to spend a night. Upon entering his house, Hercules sensed the great mourning of the people milling about the house despite Admetus’ attempt to appear joyous. When Hercules inquired about whom the mourning was for, Admetus simply said that a women of the household had passed away of which he was not related and insisted Hercules stay. Still naive however, Hercules enjoyed a wonderful feast while his host was attending the funeral. After satisfying his enormous appetite, Hercules grew boisterous and his servants attempted to calm him down to respect the funeral. Hercules, not understanding why the funeral of a stranger was so important remained rambunctious, forcing the dinner servants to reveal the truth about who the funeral was truly for. After learning the truth, the great hero was mortified by his behavior as a guest of someone who was beyond hospitable during a time of great sadness. Without hesitation, Hercules was determined to bring Alcestis (Admetus’ wife) back from the dead. His elaborate plan to wrestle Death to retrieve the poor maiden proved to be successful and he …show more content…
In this rather short account with long-lasting consequences, Paris caused great trouble as he broke the code of hospitality when being a guest of Menelaus. Menelaus, the husband to the fairest women in the world, Helen, had to venture to Crete and he trusted Paris to be a guest at his home with his wife as company. This trust was tarnished by Paris’s actions that followed. Although not many details were provided, and many theories exist of how the next events came about, it is reasonable to assume Paris fell in love with Menelaus’s goddess like wife and kidnapped her to Troy (Hamilton, “The Trojan War” 253-258). Hamilton references to a poem summarizing the ill hospitality, “Paris who coming, entered a friend’s kind dwelling, shamed the hand that gave him food, stealing away a woman” (Hamilton, “The Trojan War” 257). Consequently, when Menelaus arrived home to discover his wife missing, he called upon all of Greece to help him find and bring back his wife. The dispute that ensued between two men about one women launched Greece and Troy into ten years of brutal fighting and bloodshed. This war not only angered the gods, but also devastated many families (Hamilton, “The Trojan War” 257-276). This elaborate tale shows the significance of hospitality in a way no other myth does. Paris’ lack of hospitable manners, along with the

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