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The hospitality practice, in the Odyssey, of properly sending off a guest is not only a precaution towards offending the gods but also a signal for the importance of civilized people to go home and their desire to be home. This is shown throughout the text by analyzing the treatment of Menelaus towards Telemachus’s departure and comparing the differences in the behavior of  Polyphemus and the Phaeacians as they host Odysseus. Before diving into the text, a key component to address is the term “properly sending off” as this is a vague description of an act. What does it mean to “properly” provide a departure for a guest? Based on the overall recurring events in which hosts send off their guests, this term includes feeding the guests before the departure, gifting items, and arranging a durable method of transportation with an ample amount of supplies. Due to the fact that Menelaus considers himself a civilized person, he properly sends Telemachus home after he established his longing to return to his native land. Towards the end of staying with Menelaus for a period of time, Telemachus begged to be sent home when he stated, “I must go back to my home at once. When I started out I left no one behind To guard my own possessions. God forbid, Searching for my great father, I lose my life Or lose some priceless treasure from my house!”(Homer,Odyssey, 15.97-101).Proceeding this statement, Menelaus lined up gifts and a dinner to send off his guest safely. He provided Telemachus with some of the greatest items he owned and even re-gifted a mixing bowl from when he was a guest on his journey home. This is important because it shows how properly sending off a guest is influenced by the acknowledgement of protecting your property, in other words your home and what it contains. The act of giving a gift signifies that materialistic things are attached to an increase in value as it adds to the collection of possessions to be guarded. Sending one home is an honor because it symbolizes a motivation to return to the place where you can spread the knowledge of what you experienced including the hosts who treated you well. During the time in which the text takes place, a person was considered civilized if he was honorable and a sedentary individual. Anyone who wanted to be considered a legitimate part of society was associated with a region of property by owning it or working on one. Since Menelaus and Telemachus belong to the aristocratic group in this society, Menelaus can relate to Telemachus in his urgency to defend what belongs to him and makes him civilized. Properly sending off a guest is a message that the host supports the guests intentions and creates a bond from that to be labeled as an honorable civilian as well. In the end, Telemachus is expected to follow the same routine in the event that he would become the host to Menelaus or someone else to show he indeed is also a civilized human being and not just a wanderer. Since the significance behind properly sending off a guest comes from the ideals of civilized people, Polyphemus is a negative example illustrating how a bad host will perform the same task in a different manner. Polyphemus and the Cyclops are described as, “Each law to himself, ruling his wives and children,/ not a care in the world for any neighbor” (Homer, 9.126-127). This constructs the personal traits to an uncivilized character as he is not considerate of his surroundings and therefore will not take care of anyone who crosses his path. He also announces that he is not fearful of the gods and will not follow the typical rules of hospitality. He is uninterested in the laws of civilization because they do not apply to him and therefore is blind to the significance of sending off a guest. The description at the beginning of the book serves to set up the tragic outcome of Odysseus’s departure. After the death of several of his men, Odysseus recounts the retreat from the island Polyphemus is from and recites how Polyphemus reacts to being tricked and taunted, “Ripping off the peak of a towering crag, he heaved it/ so hard the boulder landed just in front of our dark prow”(Homer, 9.538-539). A civilized individual would not throw a huge rock at their guests as a farewell gift. Polyphemus does not have the emotional capacity to treat a guest let alone properly send one off. Since he has not experienced being a guest himself, he is not conscious of what it feels like to long for home. To him the only home that matters is his own, he is incorporated into the story to illuminate the variety of definitions that home can be. Therefore, his intention is to end the journey of his guest not allow it to continue. This departure exemplifies the barbaric contrast of nearly killing your guests as compared to a safe and well intended departure. On the other hand, the Phaeacians are on the opposite side of the spectrum of hosts by sending off guests in a lavish way to honor their past and grant them a better future. Sending one off properly is recognizing the pain and suffering one might have gone through and, in a sense, rewarding the warrior that has come from it. Odysseus emphasizes the purpose of properly sending off a guest when he exclaims,”To set you unlucky guest on his home soil.How much I have suffered… Oh just let me seeMy lands, my serving-men and the grand high-roofed house-Then I can die in peace” (Homer, 7.258-261).The need to go home is so powerful that it would put his soul at ease and he would feel so content with his life that he would be able to die with no worries or regrets. The idea of being sent home is now introduced as a place where one can calmly depart to the after-life. Sending one properly esteems that wish to relieve the stress off the guest and draw him back to a state of peace. The wish is granted when Odysseus is able to sleep during his sail home. This is a key aspect as it hands over the responsibility of one’s well-being to a recently made friend. Properly sending one home in this instance is a sign of safety and relief. A concrete definition of the significance to properly send someone off is engraved in the story when Odysseus retells his journey to all the Phaeacians. Alcinous sympathizes Odysseus and reassures him with, “Nothing can hold you back-/ however much you’ve suffered, you’ll sail home”(Homer, 13.6-7). Alcinous has implicitly labeled Odysseus an honorable man worth sending home and is determined to get him there. Odysseus proves himself to be great once he defeats some younglings in a throwing contest which drive the Phaeacians to demonstrate their skills in other fields so Odysseus can have something to talk about when he returns home. Sending one off properly to their home is an indicator of respect as one could be shipped off with nothing but a shaky ship and barely enough food to have for the length of the trip. This practice points to the ideology that everyone has a specific role in the world to which they must return to or else they could be mistaken for the outcasts( ie. merchants who constantly travel). One must wonder why the dream to go home is so crucial instead of exploring the world. Home is a place of security and comfort as that is the place you know the most. Home can be a place to welcome others but it can also be a place to isolate from the outside world. For different characters the reason to return to their native land varies. Odysseus in reality is lonely and extremely tired, he misses his wife and son who he has not seen in 20 years. Telemachus is trying to protect what his father earned and is establishing his manhood in a very difficult setting. Menelaus returned home so he could be with his wife Helen again after a great war. The similarity between all these characters is that home is the only place they really had all the power to convey authority. They all have many more rights since it is their own properties and they know the land well. All the characters who belonged to the aristocratic group in the society properly sent off their guests because they share this idea of being represented by your homeland and having a sense of comfortability there. In conclusion, although not every host is the same, the principle of sending one off properly is tied to returning home and making connections to other individuals. The text has an abundant amount of examples, more specifically the traits and backgrounds of many characters can be compared to exemplify the overall majority desire to send someone on their way home. Polyphemus, the Phaeacians, and Menelaus all have different settings, expectations, and specialties which shape the behavior towards shipping their guests off. Certain acts can be seen as selfish but the big picture shows that civilized hosts will send of their guests home because they know that is where they belong. The motivations to go home vary but one thing is for sure, it is better to belong somewhere then to claim no land.

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