to "The Cyclops Adventure" in Book Nine of The Odyssey
The Progress of Odysseus's adventures to Phaecia:
- The Raid on the Ciconens (in Book Nine)
- The Lotus Eaters (in Book Nine)
- The Cyclops (in Book Nine)
- Aeolus, Laestrygonians, Circe's Island (one year)
- Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, Oxen of the Sun
- Calypso's Island (seven years)
- Nausicaa and the Phaecians
- Ithaca and Penelope
Book Nine: Ismarus,
the Lotus Eaters, and the Cyclops
The escape from the Cyclops is Odysseus' most famous achievement, and
his survival can be attributed to his intelligence (metis).
You defeat overwhelming force by out thinking it, by seizing the
passing moment, and adapting to circumstance. Odysseus must use
disguise and eventually violence to achieve his end.
Odysseus identifies himself before the Phaecians (9. 20-40)
What does the episode with the Kikonens tell us about the mentality of
Odysseus and his men right after they had embarked from Troy on their
journey home? (9.
What is the symbolic meaning of the storm which strikes Odysseus and
his men after the pillage of Ismaros? (9. 80)
What is the symbolic meaning of Odysseus' episode among the Lotus
Eaters (9. 80-115)
How is the island of the Cyclops described? (9. 115-150)
- Look at the Odysseus' description of the mouth to the
Cyclops cave. (9. 185-95)
What interpretation of the Cyclops story can be derived
from considering the strange, nightmarish details Homer weaves into its
fabric? (8. 260-620)
If one looks at the peculiar details
of the scene, one can compose an elaborate metaphorical response to the
story. What should we make of:
- The abundance of milk and cheese, lambs and kids
within the cave (9.
- Polyphemus drunken lack of xenia:
he likes to eat his guests instead of eating with them. (9. 310-395)
- Odysseus resists the temptation of stabbing
Polyphemus in the liver. (9.
- Odysseus' plan of action: the blinding of drunken
Polyphemus with what amounts to a sailing ship's mast (plan: 9. 405-525)
- Odysseus gets the Cyclops drunk on wine. (9.470-483)
- The blinding of the one-eyed monster. (9.495-528)
- The ridiculous trick of Odysseus calling himself
'Nobody' so that the Cyclops cries for help are ignored by his
neighbors: "Nobody hurt me!" (9.
- The escape of the sailors beneath and between the
monsters' legs clutching the ram's bellies (9. 548-620)
- Odysseus' mistake: telling Polyphemus his name (9. 615-695)
- Polyphemus' prayer to his father, Poseidon- the god
of the sea (9.
What is Homer's artistic intention in Book Nine of The Odyssey?
What does Odysseus need to learn in order to find his way home?
What is Homer telling us about the nature of Greek civilization's
Now remember the essay question for the paper due Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.:
Essay Comparing Achilles and Odysseus:
Due Wednesday at 3:30 pm will be your essay on Homer's great
epic heroes Achilles and Odysseus. Your task is to compare the way that
Homer characterizes Achilles and Odysseus, and then draw conclusions
about Homer's evaluation of the values of Greek culture which these two
men embody. How does Homer celebrate human heroism yet also point out
its tragic consequences?
Can you come up with a thesis statement that explains Homer's purpose
in putting these two heroes back to back in The Iliad and
The Odyssey? What strengths and weaknesses of
character do both men exhibit? Who has the best chance at success? Why?