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Honors Program
HONR 1101
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Emily McClure The Odyssey Books 1-4 Hospitality Having read The Odyssey before during my freshman year of high school, I am slightly familiar with the story. This being said, I know that hospitality is a large motif in the story and that there are many opportunities throughout the poem to explore the role of hospitality in Homer’s world. To begin, it is intriguing that Homer already gives reader their first glance at the importance of hospitality on the fifth page of the book. Because the poem begins en media res, the story has already begun, andAthena visits Telemachus in Ithaca. She arrives at the door of his house while the suitors are celebrating and dining, and Telemachus sees her before anyone else does: “Straight to the door he came, irked with himself / to think a visitor had been kept there waiting… Then he said warmly: / ‘Greetings, stranger! Welcome to our feast. / There will be time to tell your errand later’” (I, 150-155). In this scene, the reader first learns about the hospitality in Homer’s culture, which is so foreign to that of society today. In The Odyssey, men are expected to open their home to any guests, feed them and take care of any of their needs, all before even asking their identity. This is exemplified perfectly by that scene with Telemachus and Athena. This hospitality is to be expected by the guest, but nevertheless they are still grateful when they receive such care. When Telemachus first approaches Nestor’s palace, he is nervous to talk to them: “‘Mentor, how can I do it, how approach them? / I have no practice in elaborate speeches’” (III, 26-27). So when Nestor so warmly greets him and invites him to their feast and celebration, Telemachus is very tha
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