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What was the effect of the Lotus plant in Homer's Odyssey?

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nessachumpz | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 15, 2013 at 6:29 PM via web

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What was the effect of the Lotus plant in Homer's Odyssey?

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noahvox2 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted June 29, 2013 at 2:51 AM (Answer #1)

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In Odyssey 9, the title character tells his Phaeacian hosts about his adventures after leaving Troy. One of the places he and his crew stop is the land of the Lotus-eaters.

In keeping with the theme of hospitality (Greek: xenia) that permeates the Odyssey, Odysseus' crew   discover that the inhabitants of this land are very friendly and, like good hosts, they offer some of Odysseus' crew food. Unfortunately, the food they are given is the lotus, which makes Odysseus' men no longer wish "to bring back word to us, or sail for home" (A.S. Kline translation). 

This remark points toward another major theme in the Odyssey, namely "return" (Greek: nostos). Odysseus' men forget all about nostos. Odysseus, however, has not forgotten about his desire to return home; he goes ashore and drags his lotus-eating crewmembers back to the ship, where he puts them in bonds. 

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