Several excerpts prove the high value the ancient Greeks attributed to the idea of home in The Odyssey. The excerpt that best shows the sentiment is the following: “…[G]o on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home.” (The Odyssey, Book 9).
The central idea of The Odyssey is that of homecoming. Homer, the author of The Odyssey, details Odysseus’ return home, which takes many years. On his way home, Odysseus encounters many challenges represented by gods and other mythical creatures. The challenges delay his eventual return to his wife. One of his encounters is Calypso from the island of Ogygia. Odysseus remains there for several years. However, Odysseus’ desire to return home perseveres, so Calypso releases him. The strong desire to reunite with one’s family shows the transition from honor and glory to life and family in the Greek society of the time (The Transition in Greek Society). Thus, The Odyssey stands in opposition to The Iliad, in which the central idea was that of battles and glory.
The idea of longing for home spreads through the whole of The Odyssey. However, the story of Book 9 is the one that best highlights the idea. The background of the story is that Odysseus and his men meet Lotus-eaters. Once you eat a lotus, you lose the desire to return home and have the urge to stay with Lotus-eaters. Odysseus eventually forces those who ate the lotus back to the ship.