The Suitors in the Odyssey, by Homer

Essay by karl987654321A, March 2009

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The SuitorsIn Homer's Odyssey, it has been sixteen years since Odysseus left his home in Ithaca for war. Many men from other lands thinking Odysseus is dead, intrude his kingdom and try to take power.

The suitors steal and plunder Odysseus' hall, feast on his food, take his maids to bed and all the while, each trying to take Penelope's hand in marriage.1 When Odysseus returns, he knows all about the suitors, and schematically kills all of them with no mercy. One may judge Odysseus' actions as unnecesary, an suggest alternatives of imprisoning or banishing the suitors, however, in order to judge him we must first determine how the Greeks see things. The Greek worldview is not based on a religion that establishes a set rule of governance, so the Greeks have to come up with their own morals. Naturally, the Greeks want to preserve themselves and their civilization, so anyone who goes against their civilization is almost always dishonorable in the Greek worldview.

The worst way one can go against society is by committing treason against an honorable ruler, because he is the heart of Greek civilization. Another influence in the Greek worldview is that of the gods. The gods do not know everything about justice, but if they all agree that something is just, than in the Greek worldview it is just. With this being said, the suitors deserve to die in the Greek worldview. Why do they deserve to die? In the Greek worldview the suitors are evil, death is a necessary punishment for evil when logical, and the gods approve of the suitors' deaths.

First of all, the suitors are evil in the Greek worldview. The reasoning behind this is that the suitors are ruining Ithaca, by plundering Odysseus' palace. They are obviously not...