November 5, 2008
Eumeaus was a swineherd of Odysseus during the 20 years the great warrior was off at Troy and journeying home. He worked diligently and loyally the entire 20 years, despite the option to obtain a more desirable and high-paying job. The life of Eumaeus the swineherd demonstrates all the qualities of dignity, honor, integrity, and nobility as discussed in class. Eumaeus was the ultimate example of all these qualities, and the quintessence of a loyal servant.
Eumaeus was the servant that cared most for his master's wordly goods, enough that he devoted 20 years of his life to caring for his master's possessions when he didn't even know if Odysseus was still alive. When Odysseus first met with ...view middle of the document...
He welcomed Odysseus, and killed a pig for him, seasoned it, and served it to his guest, even though his guest appeared to be an old beggar man. Every action Eumaeus showed Odysseus reflected kindness and honor. Every day Odysseus was gone Eumaeus lived with nobility, acting out his actions by defending his master's herds.
Eumaeus showed immense honor to Odysseus, and essentially to his entire family. Even when he didn't know of the old beggar's true identity, he treated him with respect due to the fact
that his guest was older than himself, but also due to the guidelines of Xenia. Telemachus was extremely well received by the swineherd as the master's son and future master over Eumaeus. Telemachus also showed honor to Eumaeus as a guest by graciously accepting the left-overs offered to him. The swineherder's nobility persuaded him to encouraged him to hold Telemechaus and the beggar in a very honored position, in most situations they were treated the
same. Once Eumaeus recognized his master Odysseus he helped him kill the suitors that were plaguing his household. Throughout his life as a servant Eumaeus proved to be a loyal servant showing extreme honor to whom it was due.
Overall, Odyssus' swineherd was extremely loyal and honoring to his master. He remained faithful the entire 20 years, and treated Telemachus like a son. He showed true integrity that was tested by time, and proved himself noble by continuing his low paying job, even when Penelope's suitors began to steal his herds. He never abused Penelope or Telemachus or their wealth. The Odyssey describes Eumaeus as the ultimate example of an enduring and genuine servant.
1. Knox, Bernard. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Classics, 1997.