Culture and societies have structures which can be explained as modern or ancient. Some of these cultural structures have not changed for a long time. Even for some, it is tough to find any evidence of the existence of the structure in the modern days setting. Over the years these structures have either been modified or changed into certain ways by modern man. By studying "Homer's the Odyssey", the book helps one understand the cultural dynamic that has been in play for the century. All the cultures and society are recognizable and foreign if they infuse to the modern western world. This essay seeks to give explicit details whether the Odyssey celebrate cultural diversity or if it forecloses cultural diversity.
In the ancient Greek, unlike the modern western society, the man is considered as the head of the house. A wife, on the other hand, can be considered as the person with less authority. But according to the ancient Greek, the wife is always above the children, who include the first son. Penelope and Telemachus are used to illustrate this factor in the Odyssey. According to the story we see Telemachus trying to find a household because he was grown up. Telemachus is considered a boy by people and the flux in his household make it difficult for him to marry. Telemachus mother doesn't want his son to marry any of the suitors. Another factor was that his father was missing and all the suitors refuse to leave the house. In the part of the play, we see Telemachus trying to prove his manhood worth. Athena Odysseus's son helps him. Indeed, looking at how Telemachus struggled to prove his manhood can be related to the modern western society. There so many similarities with the current society. Today, Telemachus could struggle on himself to find a suitor.
According to the ancient time of Athenians, livestock, land, and others precious material like gold were considered as a measure of wealth. We see Telemachus being offered many gifts to take home on his quest to find his father. We also Odysseus being given the gift in the many houses that he visited. Odysseus loots during a war as a way of increasing wealth. In modern western society there are many similarities to the evidence of wealth. The car has replaced may livestock especially those for transportation. But land is still considered a fundamental measure of wealth. The gold is also used today and money as a measure of wealth.
During the war there are commanders or war-leader such as Odysseus but these people are not kings. The means that these people don't have full authority. And the once under consider him like an ordinary man who has earned the rights by his ability to lead. We see in the story Odysseus serving as a ship captain with people had signed up for the war, not Odysseus. Which contribute to the problem by the fact that he hides the truth from his men. Odysseus can be compared with the modern-day corporate leader not a historical leader. This is because his talents won his position as a leader. People with talented leadership skills make a mark in the modern western culture.
Culturally in the Greek society kin was very important. For example, we see Eurylochus who was second in command to Odysseus's cause him any problem even though Odysseus did not like him. Odysseus feels obligated to his mistakes because he is related to Eurylochus. In the modern's society, such complication entangles us today. Kinship has been eroded as compared to how ancient society. Today society we see kinship is less institutionalized. But in most situations, we find ourselves entangle when people we related to make mistakes. Guilt is part of human consciousness. There is power in guilt and no one can argue that wrongly. In modern western society, guilt has been considered something to be avoided rather than something to embrace as part of life. guilt should be acted upon and It should be entertained.
Ritual conducted for the gods include sprinkling grains and wines onto grounds. Burning of meat to be eaten as part of the cultural practices. Guest had their proper ritual and how they should respond. It is illustrated many times by suitors who keep bending and breaking this guest rules. Suitors greatest crime was disregarding of these common cultural practices. It is clearly related to the rulesets for hospitability. It was common to give hospitality to all guest requesting accommodation and treatments. This kind of cultural aspect was not only necessary for them but also important to many other ancient cultural practices during that reign. A good example is a story about Cyclops who went against the rule, instead of responding properly on gestures when odysseys brought the gift, it claimed he locks the men up and devoured them all. There are minimal corresponding to this hospitality in our current modern culture, though the act of giving the gift is still incorporated thus it facilitates reciprocity of the ancient Odysseys culture. Though the practice may be minimal to families and communities, it should be reciprocated and practice at least tactfully by engaging it in marketing and servicing in our current business and financial market.
Physical strength was high value by Ancient Greek, it is depicted by the invention of Olympics. The strength traits were illustrated through game scenes. The practice includes man taunting Odysseus as he shoots arrows through the ax scene, doing this action will convince the audience to be the true Odysseus. The Greeks valued a lot man's cleverness and how they use their mind appropriately. The Men had to showcase their agility, smartness, and strength to get a highly prestigious woman to marry. In our current world, this trait is implicated in the Olympics. The participant shows strength, endurance, and discipline during the Olympic competition which is still vital to the world. The cleverness aspect is a culture practiced in modern westernized culture. It is evident in their concerns to the quality of creativity and innovation, especially in business.
Athenians take revenge on a person who trespassed their cultural structure, these perpetrators were usually sentenced to death as a punishment. Greeks culture showcase Odysseus revenge which was the reason for not going home after many years. Polyphemus seeks revenge on the Odysseus for taking his eyes. Poseidon is in a position to execute Odysseus but could not because the other gods forbid the killing of Odysseus. In modernized western society, such revenues are not allowed rather it incorporates institution. The constitution law set takes care of these revenues to the wronged while the victim is not expected to revenge.
In conclusion, the common basic human needs in our day to day activities comprises of power, comfort, safety, and pleasure. Every nation in the world want to have power, it gives one sense of authority. A powerful person in the most case makes rules and decision without even dictating. Safety is the dream of every person in our society. It is true that we live in a world full of dangers, but by mitigating such lethal aspects surrounding us it increases our chances of survival and this is through our personal safety. Working or conducting activities with peace of mind and comfort result to effectiveness and production in person undertakings. Therefore, we tend to value comfort a lot, because it improves our end product after all. People would do anything to find pleasure in their life's. Usually, after strenuous activity, our body needs rest. Therefore, indulging in pleasurable activities would relax our body and help in regaining back to its full potential. This practice is exercise by going to movie theaters, swimming, participating in sports events, going for vocational trips. It is evident that the only constant thing is "change", therefore structures from the ancient culture changes with time. Human is still human, their psychological behavior does not change that much, hence it with no doubt an ancient story written a long time ago still impact knowledge to readers today. Some of the Cultural practices that were conducted in ancient Greeks still have great values to our current world cultural practices.
Heubeck, Alfred, John Bryan Hainsworth, and Stephanie West, eds. A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey: Introduction. Vol. 1. Clarendon Press, 1990.
Dougherty, Carol. The Raft of Odysseus: the ethnographic imagination of Homer's Odyssey. Oxford University Press, 2001.
Woodhouse, William John. The composition of Homer's Odyssey. Oxford University Press, 1969.
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