Homeric Hospitality Essay

1385 words - 6 pages

As George and Lennie, the two main characters in the John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men walk into the bunkhouse, Candy, the friendly old swamper greets them, showing them around the farm, letting “them have them two beds there,” to sleep on, and introducing them to the other ranch hands on the property (18). When Candy puts their lack of familiarity aside and immediately welcomes George and Lennie (ADVSC), who were still just strangers to him (ADJSC), as members of the “ranch family”, he treats them with great kindness and hospitality. Just as Candy guides George and Lennie, helping them to settle down on the ranch, characters in The Odyssey aid Odysseus in his travels, allowing him to ...view middle of the document...

In a society where hospitality plays a sacred role, Alkinoos goes above and beyond, displacing royalty for a foreigner. Upon talking with Odysseus, Alkinoos sees how impeccably (PSAT Vocab) Odysseus speaks, realizing what an eloquent man this stranger seemed. This sparks the great king to implore Odysseus to “have [his] daughter and be called [his] son-in-law, staying here with [him],” yet again exuding hospitality towards his guest, calling him to be a permanent resident to the island and a member of the royal family (XII. 313-314). Offering the hand of a princess in marriage to Odysseus, a man they have known for only a few hours, demonstrates the length the Phaikians will go to in order to please their guests, even if mere strangers. Odysseus comes to discover the Phaikians great proficiency at sea, using these talents, the Phaikians continue illustrating (PrPP) the extents of their hospitality by offering their guest swift conveyance home (PrPP) (PrPP Parallel Structure). After Odysseus had graced the kingdom with his eventful stories, Alkinoos declares it is (ok?) time that Odysseus began his long-awaited return to Ithaka, offering libation to Zeus and exclaiming, “[let us] send our guest on his way, back to his own country,”(XIII.52). This creates much joy in Odysseus, thankful for the Phaikians, and ecstatic to return to Penelope and Telemachus. He thanks the Phaikians for all they have done for him, bidding them “fare well, for all my heart desired is now made good, conveyance and lovely gifts,” (XIII.40-41). Odysseus has a vast amount of treasure to accompany him back to his home, and a speedy ship to convey him, all thanks to the Phaikians, their noble largess (PSAT Vocab), and their generous hospitality to foreign strangers.

Eumaios, the devout swine herd, shares all that he has with Odysseus, despite Odysseus' unfamiliar and vagabond disguise, preparing him for his homecoming.. Odysseus appears to Eumaios as a ravaged and vulnerable (PSAT Vocab) beggar and the swineherd immediately takes him in, initiating the continual shower of hospitality (PrPP) that will endure throughout Odysseus’ stay. As soon as Odysseus approaches the swineherds, dogs rush upon him and attempt to attack him. His first encounter with Eumaios occurs as the swineherd drives the dogs away, “shouting at the dogs and scar[ing] them in every direction with volleyed showers of stones,” saving Odysseus from a brutal mauling (XIV. 45-47). The old man’s ability to set aside all barriers presented by this man being a stranger allows him to put his own life on the line to save the weak beggar from an imminent death. His loyalty to his fellow man distinguishes Eumaios as the same kind and selfless swineherd that Odysseus remembered from 20 year ago, prior to his departure for Troy. Once the dogs have cleared out (PaPP), Eumaios kindly invites Odysseus into the swineherd’s shack, entreating him to “Come old sir, along to my shelter, so that you may first be...

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