The Odyssey Odysseus Quotes Page 10
(Odysseus:) ‘Let any of the rest, whose heart and spirit are urgent for it, come up and try me, since you have irritated me so, either at boxing or wrestling or in a foot race, I begrudge nothing; any of the Phaiakians, that is, except Laodamas himself, for he is my host; who would fight with his friend? Surely any man can be called insensate and good for nothing who in an alien community offers to challenge his friend and host in the games. He damages what it is.’ (8.204-211)
Odysseus shows the behavior of a good guest by refusing to challenge his host and protector. He places so much store by this that he compares it to the cutting away the ground from beneath one’s feet; in other words, insulting one’s host is akin to harming oneself.
(Odysseus:) ‘I had with me a goatskin bottle of black wine, sweet wine, given me by Maron, son of Euanthes and priest of Apollo, who bestrides Ismaros; he gave it because, respecting him with his wife and child, we saved them from harm. He made his dwelling among the trees of the sacred grove of Phoibos Apollo, and he gave me glorious presents. He gave me seven talents of well-wrought gold, and he gave me a mixing-bowl made all of silver, and gave along with it wine, drawing it off in storing jars, twelve in all. This was a sweet wine, unmixed, a divine drink.’ (9.196-205)
Odysseus reminds us that there is an exchange between host and guest: the guest must show kindness and good behavior, and the host returns the courtesy. This is why the suitors are not entitled to the hospitality of Telemachos and his mother.
(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’s hospitality seems proper at first – before she changes her guests into pigs. Looks like the men should have looked this gift-horse in the mouth.