The theme of hospitality, also called xenia or guest friendship, plays large in the Odyssey. Who are some of the people who have shown this so far in the work? What are some of the features of hospitality that different people have demonstrated?

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Hospitality is one of the central themes of The Odyssey, one which emerges throughout the epic poem. There are numerous examples of hospitality being honored and also abused.

Across the course of Odysseus's journeys, we can observe examples wherein hospitality is honored and abused. In Phaeacia, one can observe a powerful example of how hospitality (in the ancient context) is supposed to work, with the Phaeacians holding feasts and games in their visitor's honor. For their hospitality, Odysseus repays them with the story of his own travels and sufferings. When Odysseus lands on the island of Aeolus, the king, Aeolus himself, hosts him in his palace and gives Odysseus a sack containing the four winds, a gift intended to ease Odysseus's homeward journey.

For a depiction of poor hospitality, one can observe Odysseus's famous adventure with the cyclops Polyphemus, who traps Odysseus and his companions, seeking to devour them. n another such instance, Odysseus encounters the Laestrygonians, who also try to eat their guests and who destroy Odysseus's fleet as his crews try to escape.

In addition, one must point out that, just as hospitality can be abused on the part of hosts, it can also be abused by guests. You can see this in the behavior of Penelope's suitors (who will eventually be killed when Odysseus returns). Finally, consider Telemachus's own travels early in this epic (as well as how he is received). In all these examples, readers can see the role that hospitality plays as a key theme in the poem.

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