Analysis Of Polyphemus In The Odyssey

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The Greek epic poem, the Odyssey, was told by Homer but the date of its creation is unknown. Even though the book mainly focuses on Odysseus, the monsters such as Polyphemus, have an important role. Homer portrays Polyphemus the cyclops as uncivilized throughout Book 9. He does this to show us to reinforce the morals of Odysseus and increase conflict and tension. Polyphemus is depicted as barbaric through Odysseus’ narrative perspective and tone. Book 9 starts off with a change in narrative perspective with it being a first person flashback in a framework of a third person narrative. This is key because the readers know that the third person narrator is a reliable narrator so Odysseus’, speech will be accurate but we don’t know if Odysseus…show more content…
Odysseus raid in Cicones’ stronghold foreshadows what happens in the Cyclops cave, as Odysseus, “urged them to cut and run, set sail, /but would they listen? Not those mutinous fools”(Homer 9.51-52.) After they don’t leave they are attacked and lose their men and in the end of both of these events it ends with, “we sailed on, glad to escape our death yet sick at heart for the dear companions we had lost”(Homer 9.71-72, 9.629-630.) Even though these two events are heavily connected there is one difference and that is who is saying to go back to the ship. This portrays a clear sign that both of these are connected as Homer only repeats phrases that are connected with each other and with them following the same structure the events in Cicones foreshadow the cyclops’s cave. The only difference is who is saying to go back to ship. Odysseus had wanted to go back in Cicones while his men wanted to go back in the cave. His men had almost stopped him from fighting Cyclops and in turn having an immortal god of the sea hate him. The same men he had called, “mutinous fools” for not listening to each other. The only way to make Odysseus not look at fault would be to make Polyphemus appear as uncivilized making Odysseus’s idea of waiting making more sense. Compared to King Alcinous actions Polyphemus is shown to be uncivilized. Homer shows King Alcinous and his treatment of Odysseus before Polyphemus is introduced and this skews what we would’ve thought of Polyphemus. Before King Alcinous could react to Odysseus, a Phaeacian Lord complained to him how,“ This is no way, Alcinous. How indecent, look, / our guest on the ground [...] Come, raise him up and seat the stranger now, / in a silver studded chair [...] suppliants’ rights are sacred”(Homer 8.189-190). This sets the mood of how strangers should be
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