Theme Of Xenia In Homer's Odyssey

Xenia in the Odyssey There are many themes in the book The Odyssey by Homer. Xenia, or hospitality is one of the largest, most prominent themes throughout the book. Xenia is displayed in many instances throughout the novel, and the importance of xenia is emphasized by the actions of it, but also the violation of it. Xenia is seen in the very first book of the novel when Athena inspires the prince. Prince Telemachus welcomes Athena into the home, by saying “Greetings, stranger! Here in our house you’ll find a royal welcome. Have supper first, and then tell us what you need” (1.143, 144, 145). The hospitality is recognizable in Telemachus’ welcoming ways, and after Athena is welcomed in, Telemachus’ feast commences; “A maid brought water in a gold pitcher,” (1. 160, 161) and “a staid housekeeper brought bread to serve them, appetizers aplenty too, lavish with her bounty” (1. 163, 164). Prince Telemachus is not only feeding Athena upon entry, but also giving a grand meal, complete with gold cups and a plethora of food. Athena visiting the Prince serves as the perfect example of hospitality in Greek culture, …show more content…
One of the most significant, distinctive examples of the violation of xenia is Odysseus’ encounter with Polyphemus. After Polyphemus is an unsatisfactory host, Odysseus blinds him, which angers his father, who makes Odysseus’ journey home difficult (9. 427, 428). Another example of bad xenia would be when the suitors impose on Odysseus’ home and attempt to take Penelope’s hand in marriage (22. 20). Hospitality is emphasized greatly throughout the book, when guests dishonor xenia, there are often consequences. When Polyphemus is not a good host, he ends up blind; when suitors cross Odysseus vying for Penelope, they end up dead (9.27, 428, 22. 20). It is apparent that those who do not practice good xenia in a positive guest-host relationship must face the

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