The theme of homecoming is a central idea in Homer’s The Odyssey. The story follows the journey of Odysseus as he tries to return home to his wife after facing various challenges and mythical creatures. Unlike The Iliad, which focused on battles and glory, The Odyssey emphasizes the importance of life and family in ancient Greek society. This is seen in Odysseus’ strong desire to reunite with his family and return home.
The idea of longing for home is present throughout The Odyssey, but it is best illustrated in Book 9. In this part of the story, Odysseus and his men encounter Lotus-eaters, who offer them a fruit that makes them lose their desire to return home. Odysseus is determined to return home and prevents his men from eating the lotus by forcing them back onto the ship.
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The quote “…[G]o on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home” highlights the high value ancient Greeks placed on the idea of home. Odysseus is determined to prevent his men from losing their desire to return home by urging them to leave the island of the Lotus-eaters immediately. This shows that the ancient Greeks believed that home was a place of great significance and that it was important to maintain the desire to return to it.
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