Hospitality in the Odyssey

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Hospitality: Then and Now In the times of The Odyssey, things were, obviously, vastly different. The people worshipped different gods, had different rituals, and had different opinions on the treatment of other humans. One of the most changed views from then until now, however, is that of hospitality. In the days of Odysseus and the Greeks and even through the times of the Roman Empire, the ideas of unknown guests staying in your home, and treating them like royalty, that is quite foreign to todays culture. Hospitality today is viewed much differently than in the days of Odysseus. Some concepts, however, have held over to today. Growing up in a Catholic community, the first true tale you hear of random hospitality is that of the Good Samaritan. A man, specifically a Jew, had been robbed and beaten and was lying on the side of the road. Several people, including a Rabi and other Jews, just pass by and deliberately ignore the man, as he lay there injured. But finally, a Samaritan, whose people who were generally held in lower esteem, stopped and not only took care of the man, but put him up in a hotel and paid for him to stay there several nights and live luxuriously for a few days while he recovered. Now this is slightly different from the hospitality in The Odyssey, which sees several main characters undertake long journeys and stay with countless individuals they have never met before. Starting with Book 1 and the suitors, even they experience a highly unusual form of hospitality. Even though they are unwanted, even despised in Odysseus’s house, they are still allowed to live there, even live luxuriously, while they wait for Penelope to make her decision. However, they, along with Polyphemus and others who abuse the code of hospitality, end up suffering. In the end, Odysseus slaughters the suitors and blinds Polyphemus. When Odyesseus was making his

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