Guests and Strangers in Homer's Works Analytical Essay by write123

Guests and Strangers in Homer's Works
A discussion of the treatment of guests and strangers in Homer's works "Hymn to Demeter", "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey".
# 106237 | 766 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Jul 30, 2008 in Anthropology (Cultural) , Literature (Greek and Roman)

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This paper analyzes how Homer's "Hymn to Demeter", "The Iliad", and "The Odyssey" all explore the traditional customs of providing shelter for strangers and the consequences for breaking such customs. The paper points out that, in these three tales, one can see the importance placed on good hospitality. They are a reflection of the ancient tradition of receiving guests with kindness and generosity. Breaking these traditions proved disruptive of the rest of the community, and efforts were then taken to restore order. The paper concludes that Homer's writings give us key insight into the everyday values of Greek life and culture.

From the Paper:

"These traditions are also highlighted in the breaking of them by the characters in Homer's tales. He highlights the action which broke these taboos, but also a negative response to it by the other figures in the story. When Demeter refused to allow healthy harvests, Zeus had to step in to stop her from taking the lives of millions of people in order to save her single daughter, (Morford and Lanardon 313). This shows the general negative attitude towards disregarding the health and welfare of strangers. Another prime example of breaking this taboo is the account of Achilles and his actions towards Hector's body. Many cultures showed respect to guests, even forced guests as in the case of prisoners of war. It was custom out of respect for fallen soldiers to return the body in order to get the proper funereal rites. In The Iliad, Achilles refuses this custom when he drags Hectors body and refuses to surrender it to the Trojans, (Homer Book 22, line 494). This was a taboo, despite the fact that Hector was an enemy."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Homer, The Iliad. Trans. Johnston, Ian. Found at Malaspina University, Canada. <hhtp://>
  • Homer, The Odyssey. Trans. Butler, Samuel. Found at
  • Morford, Mark and Lenardon, Robert. Classic Mythology. Longman Publishing. 5th ed.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Guests and Strangers in Homer's Works (2008, July 30) Retrieved March 24, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Guests and Strangers in Homer's Works" 30 July 2008. Web. 24 March. 2023. <>