The Odyssey


Books 9 to 12

Book 9 Summary

At last, Odysseus reveals his true identity. He proceeds to tell the Phaeacians stories of his long and arduous journey since the fall of Troy. Odysseus’s narrative makes up Books 9 through 12 of the Odyssey. After leaving Troy, Odysseus and his men sail to Ismarus, which they attack and plunder. Odysseus sees that the spoils are divided equally among his men and then tells them to sail away as quickly as possible. The men are enjoying their spoils, however, and they linger too long. The Cicones have called for inland reinforcements, and they launch a counterattack which drives the Greeks from the island. Odysseus’s numbers are greatly reduced, but he manages to escape with some of his men. Their ships are soon blown off course by raging storms, and the winds carry them to the land of the Lotus-eaters. They are treated well by the Lotus-eaters, but the sweet lotus fruit erases the memories of all the men who eat it. They forget what they are doing and have no motivation to go home. With difficulty, Odysseus forces them back onto the ships and they sail with low spirits.

Next, Odysseus and his crew sail to the Cyclops’ island. The Cyclops are gigantic one-eyed creatures who do not welcome visitors. Odysseus and 12 of his best warriors become trapped in the cave of Polyphemus the Cyclops, son of Poseidon. Polyphemus eats two of the men and plans to keep the rest of them around to eat later. Odysseus cleverly offers the Cyclops some wine that he has brought along with him from the ship, which Polyphemus guzzles until he is sick and weak. Odysseus tells Polyphemus that his name is “Nobody” and then drives a red-hot poker into his eye to blind him. The Cyclops cries for help, but because he says “Nobody is killing me,” the other giants assume that he is being punished by the gods. Odysseus steals several sheep from the island and escapes with the remainder of his crew. Before finally departing, he tells Polyphemus his real name. As Odysseus sails off, Polyphemus prays to his father,...

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Essays About The Odyssey