The Odyssey by Homer

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In Book 22 of The Odyssey, why does Odysseus kill the servants?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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On the face of it, it would appear that Odysseus' actions are quite cruel, and unnecessarily so. But one thing we should always bear in mind is that Odysseus is the king and his word is law in Ithaca. His servants haven't simply disrespected him or Penelope; in their disloyalty, they've broken the sacred bonds of ancient Greek society that bind everyone together.

Individualism as we understand it today didn't really exist in ancient Greece. Each person was defined to a large extent by the role they played in society. In the case of servants, that involved showing complete loyalty to one's master or mistress, and most of Odysseus' servants haven't done that. In doing so, they've...

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beaver104 | Student

Odysseus doesn't kill all his servants in the first place. He does kill very many, though. He kills most of them for following the suitors (serving the suitors), and I guess because the more people to survive, the faster more soldiers would come. Also, he's kind of ticked off. (I would use a different word.)

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