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Loyalty, Vengeance, and Hospitality in Odyssey

Loyalty, Vengeance, and Hospitality in Odyssey

Odyssey is an ancient artwork done by Homer and is believed to be between 725-675 BCE. The poem is constructed in 24 books and is believed to be orally performed. The first version of the work was done either on animal skin or from papyrus column rolls. The author describes the situation at the time of writing the poem. He explains the struggles he underwent for 10 years to return home from the Trojan War. Although there lacks a chronological flow in the poem, the main goal of the poem is finally achieved when Odysseus finally gets home after battling the struggles and gets reunited with his family. Odysseus proves his presence as the man of the home and kills all of Penelope’s suitors. The poem can be used to reflect on the struggles men face to be reunited with their families. The poem has themes such as Fate, Justice, Memory and Grief, Loyalty, Vengeance, and Hospitality. The major themes in the poem are Loyalty, Vengeance, and Hospitality.

Loyalty is the poem’s central theme that has been used to reflect not only the story but also the lives people live. Loyalty is shown mainly by Odysseus, who, in the first place, goes to the Trojan War to fight for his people. Troy city’s king’s son had abducted the queen to a Greek king and fled with her to his city. This created a conflict between the two groups, and the Greeks fought to get back their queen (Homer & Green, 2019). Odysseus’s loyalty to the Greeks leads him to the war and away from his family for 20 years. After the war, Odysseus still recognizes he has a family and struggles to get back home to reunite with his family. This shows how loyal Odysseus is to his family and the Greeks.

Loyalty is also shown by Penelope and her family, who keep waiting for their father and husband even after 20 years. Many men had died in the Trojan War, but Penelope and her family still have hope for Odysseus’ return. Odysseus finds suitors who had approached Penelope and proved his loyalty to his family by taking a challenge the suitors had failed and passed the test. He also goes ahead and kills Penelope’s suitors showing his loyalty to his wife (Homer & Green, 2019). The Greeks are loyal to each other as they go to war for the abduction of Helen, their queen. Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, stands by his father to fight Penelope’s suitors, indicating loyalty. Loyalty is a theme extensively used in the poem and reflects today’s world where the is scarce.

Vengeance is a theme that is majorly expressed by the poem’s main character,

Odysseus, who undergoes insults and assaults by Penelope’s suitors, such as Antinous. Odysseus endures the suffering he experiences and, in the long last, gets reunited with his family. He gets revenge for the painful deeds he had undergone under the suitors by killing them. Poseidon considers Odysseus’s actions sinful for blinding his son and punishes him by sending storms to Odysseus and his men and forcing them to the lands that would harm them. The author describes Poseidon as a Powerful Sea God (Robert, 2017). The Greeks also take revenge on Troy locals and fight them after they have abducted one of them. There is much to take on vengeance as one party revenge on the other, another party is unhappy and prompts retribution.

Hospitality is a theme expressed in the poem with positive and negative impacts. In the Greek community, hospitality was an attribute they perceived as important. The Greek community would welcome visitors to their homes without needing to know them. Odysseus and his men are welcomed to other homes while they go back home (Robert, 2017). This shows the positivity of hospitality through the poem as Odysseus and his men survive the hospitable environment they face during their struggles. However, some people in the poem are described as having lousy hospitality to Odysseus, such as the suitors, Polyphemus, and Phaeacians.  In summary, the writing Odyssey is an ancient piece of valuable artwork that can still be used today to reflect on matters arising. Although lacking a chronological flow, the poem has three major themes: loyalty, vengeance, and hospitality. Many characters in the poem show loyalty. Odysseus is loyal to his Greek community and his wife and son as he returns home after 20 years of being away. Penelope and his son are loyal to Odysseus as they keep waiting for Odysseus, who has gone for the Trojan War. Vengeance is shown in the poem when Odysseus kills the suitors who try to marry his wife and who mistreat him. The Sea God takes vengeance on Odysseus for making his son blind. Hospitality is an essential theme in the poem as it guides the events. Positive hospitality is shown by the Greek community, who hosts Odysseus and his men without questioning them. Suitors, Polyphemus, and Phaeacians show hostile hospitality. These are not the only themes in the poem, but these make up a large part of the oral performance.


Homer, & Green, P. (2019). The Odyssey: A New Translation by Peter Green.

Robert, F. (2017). The Odyssey.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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