Revenge in Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey

Examining the concept of revenge in the context of Homer’s literature – brought about by the abuse of hospitality.

The paper focuses on the theme of revenge as a moving force in the world of Homer. Several examples listed such as the Trojan war as an act of revenge, Odyssey ending with an act of revenge, gods’ revenge on each other,gods’ revenge on men and men’s revenge on each other.
The world of Iliad and Odyssey was the world of multiple standards and values of diversified permissions and prohibitions(Finley 86). Notions like themis, xenos, obligation of hospitality were of extreme importance and determined the line of behavior. Violation of such norms almost invariably resulted in revenge, since public institutions responsible for dealing with various violations of order simply didn’t exist. Vengeance was normal and common. M. Finley in The world of Odyssey noted that `many primitive societies are known in which it is not possible to find any `public` responsibility to punish an offender. Either the victim and his relations take vengeance or there is none whatsoever.`(88) Vengeance was the only way for a person to restore justice, protect his honor, and compensate the damage caused to him or to any of his relatives.”