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Breaking the code of XENIA is a crime with serious consequences

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Introduction

'Breaking the code of guest-friendship (xenia) is a crime with serious consequence.' How far do you agree with this statement? In your answer you should explain what the code of guest-friendship involved and include discussion of incidents when this code was broken and of their consequence. I agree greatly with the above mentioned statement, since it is made clear from a number of episodes in the Odyssey that those who violate the code of xenia suffer horribly. Guest friendship is an important theme throughout the Odyssey, and it helps not only to put into perspective different characters' motives, but also gives an important insight into individual characters social values. The Odyssey itself can be treated as a guide for the virtues of guest hospitality, since it shows a variety of breaches as well as a range of positive portrayals of this theme. When Telemachos visits Nestor in Pylos, he receives a grand welcome. However, in the beginning of this episode, there is a sense of confusion, since Nestor is oblivious to his visitor's identity, yet he still follows the principles of xenia, and of course does ...read more.

Middle

Again, when he meets the royal family there are a few differences in the way xenia is carried out. For example, he begs the Queen to let him stay, and thereafter King Alkinoos offers him his daughters hand in marriage after knowing him for a very short period of time. This is in stark contrast to the hostility with which Athene assumed Odysseus would be greeted with. Inviting a visitor to become part of the royal family highlights the apparent worth of the bloodline as well as causing the community to appear weaker. Whilst on Scheria, he is generally treated well, despite a quarrel with Euryalos, who challenges Odysseus' athletic abilities. It is not as perfect as the treatment Telemachos receives from the likes of Menelaos and Nestor, but it is heartening to see that Odysseus is welcomed outside of the general Greek community of islands. This is further emphasized by the fact that Scheria is a community not particularly welcoming to newcomers. Furthermore, another crucial example of xenia is the interaction which takes place between Odysseus and his swineherd Eumaios. ...read more.

Conclusion

He lives in a cave by himself, is completely self-sufficient, and only interacts with the other Cyclops when he is in trouble and shouts out to them. The lack of women on the island also seems odd, since women make up a large part of any classic Greek community. Perhaps the fact that there are no women mentioned causes the Cyclops to seem even more uncivilized in comparison to the other communities. Women were often responsible for keeping the home in Greece and their duties in this way helped make the home feel more welcoming. Therefore, the idea of the Cyclops taking care of his own home takes away from the openness and friendliness of the island even more. The Cyclops ends up loosing his eyesight as a result of his negligence of the laws of xenia. This clearly shows that consequences will be deeply severe. Similarly the suitors suffer a similar fate, which is even prophesized by Theoklymenos, but the suitors fail to take note of the warning. This once again highlights the fact that those who ignore the laws will suffer, and those who uphold the laws will be rewarded. Therefore I agree with the statement. ?? ?? ?? ?? Yousuf Chughtai 1 ...read more.

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