The importance of homecoming is a central theme in Homer’s The Odyssey. The story follows the journey of Odysseus as he faces various obstacles on his way back home to his wife. One of the encounters he faces is with Calypso, who detains him for several years on the island of Ogygia. Despite this, Odysseus’ longing for home never fades, and he eventually manages to return to his wife.
The idea of homecoming is a significant one in Ancient Greek society, which valued the importance of family and life. This is in contrast to the ideas presented in The Iliad, which focused on battles and glory. In The Odyssey, the sentiment of longing for home is evident throughout the story, but it is most prominent in Book 9.
Book 9 tells the story of Odysseus and his men encountering the Lotus-eaters, who offer them the lotus to eat. Eating the lotus causes them to lose the desire to return home and to want to stay with the Lotus-eaters. Odysseus recognizes the danger and forces his men to return to the ship, highlighting the importance of the desire to return home and the dangers of losing it. The excerpt “go on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home” encapsulates this sentiment.
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