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The Odyssey

Homer
Summary

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

4) Why does Odysseus kill the suitors?

Odysseus wants revenge on the suitors. They have wasted a lot of his wealth, by living at his expense during his absence. More importantly, by taking advantage of his absence, the suitors have insulted Odysseus and damaged his reputation. Odysseus lives by the heroic code of kleos, or fame, which values reputation above everything else. Odysseus is proud of his reputation: “My fame has reached the skies.” He cannot allow the suitors’ insult to his reputation to go unpunished. The suitors make things worse for themselves by mistreating Odysseus when he arrives at his palace disguised as a beggar. In the world of The Odyssey, hosts have an obligation to treat their guests well. Whenever he can, Odysseus punishes hosts who break this rule.