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Lacoon remarked, “A Greek cannot be trusted even if he brings gifts.” What does...

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xamiixamm28 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 28, 2012 at 5:03 PM via web

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Lacoon remarked, “A Greek cannot be trusted even if he brings gifts.” What does this remark mean in the light of our society today?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 28, 2012 at 10:13 PM (Answer #1)

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"Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" is still a fairly common proverb in the twenty-first century. It no longer applies to Greeks but to anyone--particularly to a stranger--bringing you a gift. Experience in the world teaches us that people who offer you a gift frequently, maybe usually, want something from you. In other words, like the Greeks in the Iliad, they have an ulterior motive. Gift offers are common in advertising, and they always have strings attached. To give a familiar example, you might receive an envelope with a gift of printed labels bearing your name and address to save you the trouble of writing your return address on envelopes. Inevitably the free gift will be accompanied by a letter asking you to donate money to some charitable organization. You might receive a phone call telling you that you have won a free sewing machine or a free trip to Palm Springs. Watch out! They always want something! Beware of Greeks bearing gifts! This is just simple worldly wisdom that, unfortunately, comes with age and sometimes painful experience.

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