- theme that Odysseus would make a suitable husband for Nausicaa
- role of Arete
- failure of hospitality, and
- link between the Phaeacians and Odysseus' enemy, Poseidon.
(2) Athena reiterates Nausicaa's advice to win Arete's esteem, and so when Odysseus gets to the palace, he supplicates her from a kneeling position, but she doesn't say anything or show support. Yet we don't see any anxiety on Odysseus' part about his not having won her favor. If anything, Arete may suspect Odysseus is a thief, since her first conversation with him is about the clothing he wears. Since she wove them, she recognizes them as belonging to her sons.
(3) Arete is the adored wife and niece on the king. They are both descendants of Poseidon -- Odysseus' nemesis. The Phaeacians had once lived closer to the Cyclops, but had moved to Phaeacia to get away from them. From our perspective (or Odysseus'), the motive would be clear, but from the perspective of cousins (Cyclops are children of Poseidon in Homer), it is not necessarily clear. With Poseidon's help, the Phaeacians are masters or the sea. For these 2 reasons -- the support of the sea god and their mastery of the sea -- the Phaeacians are a perfect choice to provide homeward transportation for Odysseus.
(4) Athena warns Odysseus that the Phaeacians aren't crazy about visitors. Perhaps because of this, they don't get many. They fail to observe the proper Achaean etiquette with Odysseus, so he ends up sitting in the ashes by the fire until the oldest at the palace, Echeneus, realizes he must do something. He tells the king that the king needs to tend to Odysseus. Alcinous immediately realizes his failure and belatedly begins the normal hospitality rituals.
Odysseus doesn't suffer for sitting before the king (in the ashes) and Echeneus doesn't suffer for speaking his mind.