Odyssey Quote

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After escaping from his cave, Odysseus taunts Polyphemus:
“‘O Cyclops! Would you feast on my companions?... How do you like the beating that we gave you, you damned cannibal?...’” (1056).

Level 2 Question: Why does Odysseus call Polyphemus a cannibal? A cannibal is a creature that eats members of its same species. Even though Polyphemus is not completely human, he is partially so. Thus, when he “feasts [eats the brains] on [Odysseus‘] companions,” who are men, he is eating members of a species very similar to his. Additionally, Odysseus uses the word ‘cannibal’ to refer to the Cyclops as a monster, since these words are often associated with having similar meanings.

Level 2 Question: Why does Odysseus taunt Polyphemus?
Polyphemus was not hospitable to Odysseus and his men, in fact, he ate several of them. As a result of this, Odysseus is furious at Polyphemus and he wants to “get even” with him. His anger is emphasized by the word ‘damned.’ Odysseus does not consider that stabbing him in the eye was sufficiently painful for the Cyclops, he considers he should also humiliate Polyphemus to make justice for his cannibalism. In addition to being angry at him, it is typical for Odysseus to exhibit hubris and arrogance. In this situation, Odysseus feels excessively proud to have defeated Polyphemus under adverse conditions, with the Cyclops being much stronger than him. Odysseus is very content about this achievement and boasts it at him in order to further humiliate and castigate him.

Level 3 Question: Should we boast about our accomplishments? No matter the circumstances, it is not appropriate to brag about our achievements, for it is not necessary or beneficial in any sense, and it brings about negative consequences. Doing so is also a way of disrespecting or dishonoring others. This can spark envy in others, who then possibly attempt to harm the person envied in order to surpass them. As a result for taunting Polyphemus and bragging about...
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