The book Odyssey explains the basis for Greeks’ beliefs, values and qualities. The author portrays many Greek values that make up a righteous man like the character Odyssey. The author had the intention of delivering a message important to the society through the main character. Homer through Odyssey is able to promote and emphasize the ancient Greek values such as fate, hospitality and pride. Hospitality is evident throughout the writing and it expresses values surrounding the hospitality. The book Odyssey reflects Homer’s idea of the world surrounding a true hero and king. He defines the character traits of a leader and thus the leader must posses strength, nobility, confidence, thirst for glory and courage in his authority.
The most distinguishable trait is however, the sharp intellect Odyssey posses. This is portrayed through Homer’s depiction of Odyssey to be a quick thinker. Odyssey distinguishes his sharp intellect and how his quick thinking helps him out in some dire situations. For example, when he escapes from the cave of Cyclops in Book 9 and when he hides his slaughter of suitors. He is a personality who is able to speak well and win over his audience with ease. Through the examples of hospitality expressed in Odyssey, we are able to learn much of Greek principles. Hospitality is the extreme point through which Homer wrote his epic play. The Greeks have been known for their hospitality and politeness (Homer & Dawe, 1993). This is evident in the way they treated their guests. Homer demonstrates this at the beginning of Odyssey when Nestor was visited by Telemachus in Pylos. Not knowing who he was inviting into his house, Nestor treated his guests well and with great honor and respect. Later on he said, ‘…Now is the time for a few questions, now that our young quests have enjoyed their dinner....who are you, strangers? Where are you sailing from….’(Homer, 1999). In case Greeks served themselves before their guests or sort introduction before feeding their guests, then they were breaking one of Greek’s basic customs. Greeks tradition of hospitality was passed down from generation to generation. Breaking this rule would bring dishonor and embarrassment to the host home.
The issue of living and dying is often depicted to exist together in literature because in the event of bringing life into the world, someone else departs from the world. The view about living in this world and dying changes according to the religious and cultural beliefs which in turn connect us to the past generations. This makes it possible to conclude that current belief and views tend to be a portrayal of the past civilization which has been passed down to this generation through time. Such a process is wonderfully depicted in Odyssey and it presents a unique view and association found in the theme about the short life we posses in the primordial world. A more interesting fact about this phenomenon is that the life we have on the earth and what happens after we are dead makes most writers question whether the issue relates to peoples’ beliefs. The book Odyssey explores the life of Teiresias who is a prophet. We question ourselves what is going to happen through the entire life of Odyssey as he makes his journey. This makes it important event in the entire book and in the stance there.
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As he enters the “Lord of Death” the book informs us about the scenery around his property and instantly immerses ourselves into the beautiful view described vividly. Taking the mood of the area as stated in the book contained a realm and religion of people of winter who were hidden in the mist and clouds (Homer, 1999). This entirely shows the reader that no one knows exactly the position of the land of the dead. It is assumed that the area is engulfed in darkness, mist and inflicted cold. This is the cold released by bodies decomposing such as the one released by the man of winter that often chills the body of a live body (Homer & Dawe, 1993). The land of the dead as portrayed in the book is an area where there is constant darkness. In this environment, the vegetation contained nothing but decayed plants in a swamp. This point has been brought out incredibly by the writer and is still perceived to be like that by several writers and the current generation’s beliefs. The image carried up by the main character Odyssey is similar to our perception of the land of the dead as brought out through darkness depicted to enclose person as the writer is setting what is going to happen in succeeding sections (Homer & Dawe, 1993).
Land of death contains rituals, which are depicted by Odyssey. We notice that as the scene shifts to the land of death, where he starts rituals that are circle commanded and in the process there are various communications that take place during this ritual and we are told that it is communication between him and the dead. In this initial conversation with the dead, Odyssey must sacrifice some animals together with their blood including other condiments to the dead so that they could drink from them and have a word with him (Homer, 1999). The readers would always ask themselves why Odyssey must do what he is doing. The answer to this question can be from the title of the book as we go further through the book. The title brings the meaning because it is gathering of the shades. The information here informs the reader the dead and how they do not just have the same image as men, but are just shapes with no flesh. They are shades and shadows. From the text, we are informed that the blood as they drink completes the emptiness they feel and changes their image completely (Homer & Dawe, 1993). It continues to indicate that the blood gives the dead some brief moment to reason about the human life. Odyssey says that this was the method in which they communicate with the dead, and it is how they get them to answer questions from their realm. The protagonist continues to encounter dead heroes and famous men and women. Pride in the book is the key to respect, but can lead to problems. Fate, on the other hand, is the power of gods. These three values help in maintaining the social rule of the culture and help create the base for personal growth and morality.
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Like the book of Acts which is the account of the life of Christ, Odyssey recounts the life of a king as he returns from war. The aim of Acts is to give everything that was said about Jesus Christ as truth. We are not only introduced to the birth of church but also how it became organized as a united body governed by doctrines that should not be compromised. The book informs the reader how the early churches dealt with hypocrisy, persecution of prophets and false brethren. The book of Acts focuses on three important issues i.e. prayer, courage and brotherhood. Acts teachers that if we want to be strong christens, we need to pray. When we rely upon the Lord we become courageous to face temptations. As brothers, the churches were united under the body of believers. Under brotherhood, Acts informs humanity that they are generous, loving and sacrificial. Like the Acts of the Apostles, there are many qualities that a person needs to have in order to be a Homeric hero. One needs to be vengeful, physically strong and with strong ego. Apart from these qualities, the hero should be wise, smart and intelligent. Like the apostles in the book of Acts, a Homeric hero also needs to be affluent. Odyssey fulfills all the qualities of a hero and through him we are able to see how a true hero really looks like. Odyssey was a vengeful personality and would often seek to avenge the deaths of his kinsmen with “taunt” and blinding action (Homer, 1999).
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Homer wants us to learn about Greek culture in the subject of life and day. Life in Odyssey is present and best that can happen to a hero. Homer informs us that no matter how poor or wealthy one might be, one should try to live life to the fullest. One should always keep in mind that hope and family complete ones’ lives as well as the actions one commits. Like the Acts of Apostles, gods play an important role in Odyssey. Despite the role played by gods in the man’s life, they should not be expected to help us always since they will never help after one is already dead. All the images displayed by Homer in Odyssey still appear in our world today. This informs us that culture does not die easy and can still educate us about our future and past. The book Odyssey is very interesting and has a good storyline that keeps one’s attention glued to the scripts. It keeps the reader guessing what is going to happen next and thus we are able to learn with courage and tenancy a keen sense of what it takes to maintain a balance in our lives. The author suggests that since keeping balance of life is a difficult thing, we must learn to deal with the unsure world.
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