Who Is the Monster Polyphemus or Odysseus?

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  • Topic: Odyssey
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  • Published : November 14, 2006
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In Homer's The Odyssey Odysseus can perceived
in many different ways from heroic adventurer to a conniving liar. The same goes for Polyphemus. He is referred to as a ruthless brute in the beginning
of book 9, the quotation I will be using is from the end of chapter 9 lines 490-514 and percives him in a different way. Polyphemus is much more than a heartless monster like he is often thought of as. In my opinion Odysseus is more of a monster than Polyphemus.

The passage I chose starts out the day after Odysseus leaves and Polyphemus is left in torment in his cave. "As soon as young Dawn with her rose-red fingers shone once more the rams went rumbling out of the cave towards the pasture, the ewes kept bleating round the pens, un milked, their udders about to burst"(9 488-491). Polyphemus's animals represent his loss, they have milk to give bu Polyphemus can not help them because he can not see. His rams run away from him, this shows that Odysseus has taken more than just Polyphemus's sight.

The next passage demonstrates polyphemus's human like sympathy towards his beloved sheep. "Their master now, heaving in torment, felt the back of each animal halting before him here"(9 891-893). Polyphemus is in so much pain but yet he is still feeling all of his animals, he seems to have sympathy for them. Odysseus's men are hidden under the sheep and later eat his animals. They can not just leave him with no sight but they take his belongings as well.

In this passage Polyphemus displays his powerfulness but also his gentleness. "Stroking him gently, powerful Polyphemus murmured"(9 497). Polyphemus showed a very human like quality to gently stoke his sheep. This is proof that it is possible for him to be a large powerful monster but also gentle and simpathetic.

In the next passage Polyphemus talks to his favorite old ram. "Dear old ram, why last the flock quit the cave? In the good old days you'd never lag behind the rest—you with your marching long...
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