The Importance of Book Xi to the Odyssey Essay
In Book XI, Homer reinforces major themes that repeat through the rest of the story that show Odysseus he can get home using the ideas seen throughout the text. Hospitality is a theme in Book XI that occurs in many of the other books of The Odyssey. The soldiers give hospitality toward Hades and Persephone though their sacrifices so that Odysseus can visit the Underworld. This is an example of irony in the …show more content…
Book XI also verifies for Odysseus that life should be lived to the fullest, which helps Odysseus want to continue living. Akhilleus is the most significant person to talk to Odysseus about life's importance. Odysseus tells him that he needs not be saddened by his death and should embrace it because it has to be better than life. To this Akhilleus says, "better, I say, to break sod as a farm hand for some poor country man, on iron rations, than lord it over all the exhausted dead" (201). Akhilleus is telling Odysseus to "always look on the bright side of life" (Monty Python's Life of Brian, 1979) and to appreciate life, no matter the ups or downs.
In Book XI, Odysseus's character clearly develops in many ways, which is important in Odysseus's journey home. He receives information about his family and makes him want to go home. When his mother, Antikleia, and Odysseus reconnect in Hades, she tells him of his wife and son's plight, and also about his father who "is country bound and comes to town no more" (191) in his sorrow over Odysseus's absence. This information saddens Odysseus and