The Virtue Of Knowledge

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade August 2001

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Damion Desai Classics 150, Paper 1 557-53-7161 TA: Ionta This epic is a celebration of all things that are enjoyed as pleasures by the people of Homer's (or Odysseus') time; in fact, they seem just as relevant today. The satisfaction and pleasure given by good food, proper hospitality, music, art, and relationships (purely sexual as well as deep and spiritual) could describe the indulgences of modern men and women as well. Elaborate descriptions of food in "The Odyssey" suggest that Homer spent a lot of time conjuring the images as they are described. Every meal or encounter with food is narrated as vividly as the scenes of image transformation performed by Athena. It follows then that food was something that consumed the thoughts of the people of Homer's time, it's importance reflected in "The Odyssey." Each time Odysseus, or Telemakhos in his brief journeys, meet new people or come upon a strange land, food is involved.

The shared meal, like today, is an important ritual. It is also significant because the hospitality showed throughout the book to traveling strangers and the types and scale of meals involved give the reader a sense of the warmth of a "home." The theme of the home is central. Odysseus is struggling to get home, but it does need to be shown why home is preferable to an island paradise with a nymph. He went off to battle for fame and glory, yet knows the warmth and satisfaction derived from a proper home. Odysseus is a civilized man, being a king, and as such it can be shown that civilized men value the concept of the home. It gives the civilized man a base from which to proffer hospitality on others, and to indulge his own senses.

The first setting where food is a...