Greek Code of Conduct

In Odysseus's Time

Rule #1- You must be mentally and physically strong for success

DO- exercise your mind and body so you are well prepared for any task

Odysseus is smart as well as strong, making him seem god-like to average people

"you-least of all-I know- were born and reared without the god's good will" (133).

DO NOT- become lazy and allow yourself to be ignorant, or be caught off guard

One of Odysseus's men dies because he drinks too much wine and is not able to protect himself

"so I fell head first down from the roof... that and too much wine"(60).

Rule #2- You must be loyal to your comrades and nation

DO- go to war for your country

Odysseus goes to defend his town in the Trojan War, is seen as a war hero, shows that the Greeks valued people brave enough to fight for their country, which is what Odysseus did

"and much have I toiled in perils of waves and war"

DO NOT- leave a friend to die

Odysseus makes sure he goes back for his friend that fell off the roof after being told by this friend's shadow that their would be consequences if he did not go back. Shows that never leaving anyone behind was a prominent value.

Rule #3- You must obey the laws and customs of the Greek gods

DO- pay tribute to gods

Odysseus and his men burn animal skins to please the gods


DO NOT- disobey their commands, not follow their advice, or anger them

Odysseus angers Poseidon by stabbing the cyclopes' eye, and it prevents him and his men from getting home for a very long time

Rule #4- You must be good-hearted and kind

DO- be kind and merciful when possible

Odysseus is merciful towards the bard Phemius

He could've ended Phemius's life but chose to spare him out of mercy

DO NOT- consider yourself higher than others or look down on anyone

Telemachus talks down to the "beggar" not knowing it is his father. Odysseus blames himself for this saying that Telemachus growing up without a father resulted in him becoming arrogant. His obvious disproval of his son's behavior proves the Greek's value good-heartedness and not being unnecessarily rude.

Rule #5- You must welcome wandering heroes to all that you have

DO- prepare a feast for travelers


DO NOT- shut your doors and refuse to allow travelers access to your goods

Rule #6- You must not unnecessarily put innocent lives at risk

DO- think about the safety of others

Odysseus does not let his men eat the Lotus flowers because he knows it will make them never want to go home which shows that Odysseus is conscious about the safety of others. A good thing comes out of this because most of the men are able to continue the journey to get home and are not persuaded by the Lotus flower.

DO NOT- put your comrades in danger for personal needs

Odyssues does this when he insists on going into Polyphemus's cave, which turns out terribly for the group, showing unnecessary danger always results in casualties and fatalities for the Greeks