In Book 1 of Homer's The Odyssey, find a quote that supports how the Greeks value family. What does it suggests that Homer starts his story with this value?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The ancient Greeks valued family as is clear when Athena speaks to her father, Zeus, about bringing Odysseus home.  She says that she will go to Ithaca "'to rouse his son yet more and to put vigor in his breast [...].  To Sparta will [she] send him and to sandy Pylos, to try to learn of his dear father's coming, and so to win a good report among mankind.'"  Although Odysseus is somewhat of a favorite of Athena's, it is notable how strongly she believes that he should be allowed to go home and rejoin his loyal wife, Penelope, and faithful son, Telemachus.  It is worth it, to her, to take this responsibility on herself, to help them all be reunited.  Moreover, she claims that his "vigor" in attempting to locate his father will strengthen his reputation.

Further, filial piety is of such cultural importance that Telemachus, though he is only a very young man, must be brave enough to leave his home and embark on what could be a very perilous sea journey to search for news of his long-missed father.  We know that Telemachus has a strong desire of his own to find Odysseus, and, yet, Athena says that she will rouse him "more" than the extent to which he already feels compelled.  As she speaks with him, later in the Book One, she "turn[ed] his thoughts upon his father more even than before."  The extent to which she feels the need to increase his already strong sense of family honor and loyalty to his father shows us just how championed these feelings are in ancient Greek culture.

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The Odyssey

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