Hospitality in the Odyssey
A central theme throughout Homer’s poem the Odyssey is hospitality. Hospitality to the Greeks had a special meaning. The Greeks treated every guest to the home with great respect and honor and if you were a guest in someone’s home you in turn were to treat your host with great respect. The Greeks purpose for treating guests with such respect was to please the gods, their guests, and to make sure that they had a good reputation. In today’s society I believe that in some aspects the law of hospitality is upheld, but in some aspects it is not.
The Greeks were motivated to be hospitable to please the gods so to gain favor with them. This was to honor the gods. Many sacrifices and offerings were brought and made for the gods at each of the dinners and feasts, as well as many prayers prayed. When Telemachus arrives in Plyos, he arrives as a feast for honoring Poseidon is being given. Nestor welcomes Telemachus and tells him to pray to Poseidon as to honor him with this festivity. In today’s society, in my experience, parties and dinners and such are given to in a person or persons’ honor for a special occasion such a birthday, anniversary, engagement, baby shower, etc. Many of these occasions are not only to honor the person/persons but also to honor God. In the many showers and parties that I have been apart of giving recently have been to honor my friends for the very special point in their life, but also to please God. These “good deeds” are not for my acceptance in the heaven but I know that the Bible says, “Where two or more are gathered in His name, there He will be also.” I know that when I have been the hostess at these past couple of showers it has pleased and honored God to see His Christian people gathering for friends, but first and foremost in His name!
The Greeks also believed that is was pleasing to the gods to treat strangers with hospitality. At one point in the Odyssey Penelope shames the suitors for their schemes to...