Odysseus and Polyphemus

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 116
  • Published : December 13, 2008
Open Document
Text Preview
The Cicones
After Odyseus left Troy he came first to the island of the Cicones. At the island of the Cicones Odysseus and his men stormed the beach but didn't press any attack on the people there. The Cicones rallied back up and prepared for an attack on Odysseus and his men, from horse back. In a large battle that Odysseus inevitably lost, six rows of Odysseus's men were killed and Odysseus had to flee the island

The Lotus-Eaters
When Odysseus and his men landed on the island of the Lotus-Eaters, Odysseus sent out a scouting party of three or so men who ate the lotus with the natives. This caused them to fall asleep and stop caring about going home, and desire only to eat the lotus. Odysseus went after the scouting party, and dragged them back to the ship against their will. He set sail, with the drugged soldiers tied to the rudder benches to prevent them from swimming back to the island.


Odysseus offering wine to the CyclopsA scouting party, led by Odysseus and his friend Misenus, landed in the territory of the Cyclops and ventured upon a large cave. They entered and proceeded to feast on the livestock that they found there. Unbeknownst to them, the cave was the dwelling of Polyphemus, a one-eyed giant who soon returned. Refusing hospitality to his uninvited guests, Polyphemus trapped them in the cave by blocking the entrance with a boulder that could not be moved by mortal men. He then proceeded to eat a pair of them everyday, but Odysseus devised a cunning plan. To render Polyphemus unwary, Odysseus gave him a bowl of the strong, unwatered wine given them by Maron, the priest of Apollo. When Polyphemus asked for his name, Odysseus told him that it was "Nobody". (Οὔτις, "Nobody", is also a short form of his own name.) In appreciation for the wine, Polyphemus offered to return the favour by only eating him last. Once the giant fell asleep, Odysseus and his men turned an olive tree branch into a giant spear, something that they prepared while Polyphemus was out of the cave shepherding his flocks, and blinded him. Hearing Polyphemus's cries, other Cyclopes come to his cave to ask what was wrong. Polyphemus replied, "Οὖτίς με κτείνει δόλῳ οὐδὲ βίηφιν." ("Nobody is killing me either by treachery or brute violence!") The other Cyclopes let him be, thinking that his outbursts must be either madness or the will of the gods.

In the morning, Polyphemus rolled back the boulder to let the sheep out to graze. Now blind, he could not see the men, but he felt the tops of his sheep to make sure that the men were not riding them, and spread his arm at the entrance of the cave. Odysseus and his men escaped, however, by tying themselves to the undersides of three sheep each. Once out, they loaded the sheep aboard their ship and set sail.

As Odysseus and his men were sailing away, he revealed his true identity to Polyphemus. Enraged, Polyphemus tried to hit the ship with boulders, but, because he was blind, he missed, although the rocks landed very close to the ship, swaying it with billows. When the ship appeared to be getting away at last, Polyphemus raised his arms to his father, Poseidon, and asked him to not allow Odysseus to get back home to Ithaca. If he did, however, he must arrive alone, his crew dead, in a stranger's ship.

This event is the setting for the only surviving complete satyr play, Cyclops by Euripides. This version contains a more humorous version of the story by including the cowardly satyrs.

According to Virgil's Aeneid, Achaemenides was one of Odysseus' crew who stayed on Sicily with Polyphemus until Aeneas arrived and took him with him. Virgil was probably trying to interweave his tale as much as possible with Homer's already ancient, great work, especially as Achaemenides had nothing to do with the story at all and was in fact never mentioned again.

Continuing his journey, Odysseus stopped at Aeolia, the home of Aeolus, the favoured mortal of the gods who received the...
tracking img