It's All Greek to the Non-Greeks: Encounters on Odysseus's Journey 10th Grade
The nature of a civilized society or person, rather than an uncivilized one, depends on perspective. Mores that one culture holds dear potentially offend others. Wise travelers remain aware of location before flashing a casual thumbs up or blowing their noses in public–although commonplace in America, these are crude and uncivil gestures to many other cultures. Truly, civility is determined by its source, and no author better captures the essence of civility than Homer in his epic poem, The Odyssey. Homer portrays the ancient Greek values as the pinnacle of civility. He contrasts Odysseus against the Cyclopians, the Laestrygonians, and the Lotus Eaters, who appear barbaric or uncouth because they reject Greek thought and traditional Greek principles. This inability to approach new cultures and locations with sensitivity to differences says more about Odysseus's ethnocentric values, though, than it does about the cultures he encounters. Odysseus refuses to see beyond his own values, showing that he, himself, cares little of observing civility to other cultures and regards only his own worldview as the ideal.
Oddly, Polyphemus the cyclops exhibits a different extent of civility–he knows all his sheep and cares for his animals...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 873 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6708 literature essays, 1809 sample college application essays, 276 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in