Mohammad F Hussain
Professor Z. Saed
Eng 2800: Midterm Part 2
April 12, 2015
POLYPHEMUS AND GENDEL: REPRESENTING GREED AND JEALOUSY
Many cultures posit the existence of nonhuman orders of beings. They are known as monsters and outcastes. Do we know the reason for this characteristic of them? Are these so-called monsters symbolizing anything else rather than being monstrous? Both Polyphemus from “The Odyssey” by Homer and Grendel from “Beowulf” are monstrous because of their physical appearance and their behavior but they also represent greed and jealousy.
Polyphemus is the son of Poseidon. He is a one eyed Cyclopes who is larger than any human being and lives in a cave feeding off of living things. Polyphemus and the other Cyclopes have no councils, no laws and no tradition of hospitality or civility. As Odysseus and his men come to the Cyclopes’ island, Odysseus states “lawless brutes, who trust so to the everlasting gods, they never plant with their own hands or plow the soil” (9.119). This shows that Polyphemus and his kinds are inhuman and doesn’t do anything good for the world. Odysseus continues saying “They have no meeting place for council, no laws either, no, up on the mountain peaks they live in arching caverns- each law to himself, ruling his wives and children, not a care in the world for any neighbor” (9.125). This shows that Cyclopes are not civilized and cannot be part of a civilized society. Polyphemus also represents the greed of humans. Odysseus and his men have let themselves in uninvited to the home of Polyphemus when he was away. They took his foods and drinks and used his place as shelter. Odysseys and his men were greedy when they saw Polyphemus’s home that led them to face the consequences with Polyphemus. It may be true that Cyclopes are lawless brutes but Odysseus and his men have also broken the law by breaking into someone else’s house and taking their stuff.
Grendel is a monster from the poem “Beowulf”. He is...
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