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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


by Homer

The Odyssey Hospitality Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Book.Line)

Quote #7

(Odysseus:) "So she spoke to them, and the rest gave voice, and called her and at once she opened the shining doors, and came out, and invited them in, and all in their innocence entered; only Eurylochos waited outside, for he suspected treachery. She brought them inside and seated them on chairs and benches, and mixed them a potion, with barley and cheese and pale honey added to Pramneian wine, but put into the mixture malignant drugs, to make them forgetful of their own country. When she had given them this and they had drunk it down, next thing she struck them with her wand and drove them into her pig pens, and they took on the look of pigs, with the heads and voices and bristles of pigs, but the minds within them stayed as they had been before." (10.229-241)

Circe isn't eating her guests, but she's doing the next worse thing: serving them poisoned food. We're not sure if it's actually in the rule book, but turning your guests into pigs is probably not going to win you the gods' favor. Even if you are a sorceress.

Quote #8

(Eumaios:) "You too, old man of many sorrows, since the spirit brought you here to me, do not try to please me nor spell me with lying words. It is not for that I will entertain and befriend you, but for fear of Zeus, the god of guests, and for my own pity." (14.386-389)

Eumaios doesn't want to hear a bunch of sob stories about how Odysseus just needs $20 so he can buy a bus ticket to Memphis. He's going to give him the $20 because it's the right thing to do. (Warning: this is an analogy. Please think carefully before giving $20 to strangers on the street, even if they do need it for a bus ticket to Memphis.)

Quote #9

(Menelaos:) 'I would disapprove of another hospitable man who was excessive in friendship, as of one excessive in hate. In all things balance is better.' (15.69-71)

Menelaos says that you have to be moderate even in being hospitable, but we have to wonder: with Alkinoös throwing a feast and Nestor coating a cow's horns in gold before slaughtering it, what exactly counts as "moderate"?

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