The cyclops Polyphemus effectively sets up the entire plot of Homer’s Odyssey, unleashing Poseidon’s wrath on Odysseus and consequently emerging as one of his most formidable rivals. Despite being perceived by Odysseus as an uncivilized savage and the polar opposite of a Greek citizen, it becomes evident that although the two are opposed in terms of customs, they fundamentally resemble one another when analyzed through the lens of xenia, rendering Odysseus’ worldview xenophobic. Thus, the Polyphemus episode turns into a powerful allegory for how the West has traditionally viewed people from foreign cultures that they sought to subjugate. Odysseus regards Polyphemus as inferior because of behavior that he sees as uncivilized when compared to
However, as Polyphemos attacked the ship with rock, Odysseus again made to yell back to the beast. Around him, his crew muttered, “‘Godsake, Captain!/Why bait the beast again? Let him alone!’” (Book 9, Lines 537 - 538) All the crew wanted was to get out safely. They realized that Odysseus needn’t “bait the beast again.” They ask “Captain!, Why” for they see Odysseus is merely being cocky. Yet, Odysseus ignores them and respond to the monster by shouting “Kyklops,/if ever mortal man inquire/how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him/Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye:/Laertes’ son, whose home is Ithaca!” (Book 9, Lines 548 - 552) Odysseus makes a very large tactical mistake; he tells Polyphemos’ that his is “Odysseus … Laertes’ son.” Odysseus demonstrates recklessness and selfishness because he wishes to take credit for “put[ing] Polyphemos to shame”.
After Medea’s husband, Jason, betrayed her, desiring justice for his sin is a predictable action because the natural inclination to punish those who violate what is precious, for example, the sanctity of marriage, connects all of humanity – no matter the culture or time period. Therefore, one can understand Medea’s feelings and judge her goal as righteous. Moreover, the chorus, who’s role in a Greek play is to morally educate, defends and encourages Medea in
This was closely intertwined with the honoring of ancestors which were often times buried beneath the households. There was no specific law which one would have to follow for the God's appeasement, sacrifices and rituals were made as offerings to appease the Gods, as well as excellence in battle, arts, and sports. The Gods were portrayed in Greek literature as possessing overtly human characteristics, and this was applied broadly, as they would quarrel with each other and often times contradict one another in what they believed or supported. Yet one rule was clear, revenge was completely unjustified in Greek mythology and literature. This was because of the belief that revenge was inter-generational and that the thirst for revenge would never be
The lustful idol love, but not the love of God only the love of man.They worship others humans for their bodies and love, yet are never truly satisfied. Dante talks to the lustful who tell him “Love, that exempts no one beloved from loving, Seized me with pleasure of this man so strongly, That, as thou seest, it doth not yet desert me; Love has conducted us unto one death;”(Inferno 5:101-104). As this quote explains love can seize anyone, not let go and drag them to hell. These and many more examples of idols are frequent in Dante’s Inferno. This gives a lesson to the human race that all should listen to.
After defeating the Cyclops and heading back out into the sea he stood on his ship mocking the Cyclops. When escaping the cave he chose the wooliest ram for himself which shows selfishness. He also leads his men into their own fates. Circe had warned Odysseus about Scylla to not try and fight her even when she already has six of his men, but he did not listen to her advice and tried to fight her and lost three more of his men. Once back to Ithaca there were many suitors insulting him, his wife, son, house, and the gods and begging for Penelope’s hand in marriage.
Along the way, he and his crew encounter a lot of different enemies like cyclops, sirens and more. He even gets the negative attention of the sea god, Poseidon. Eventually, Odysseus and Telemachus reunite back home in Ithaca and they kill the suitors who were trying to take over their home and marry Penelope. Odysseus and Penelope reunited as well and at the
This Juxtaposition between the words "misfortune" and "excellent musician" grants the reader knowledge that human excellence is bound to lead to envy towards the gods. Being a good musician should be positive; nevertheless, it is proven to be negative because of Apollo's knowledge of Marsyas' excellence. This quote also provides foreshadowing because Apollo is stated to brook no rivalry meaning, he will probably get rid of Marsyas for rivaling his own talent. After Echo deceives Hera, she is given a large sapphire ring by Zeus. When Hera sees Echo again, she notices the ring and Evslin describes the ring as, "a large sapphire ring that burned on her finger like a fallen star"(86).
Possibly the most memorable quote is when Odysseus reveals his name to Polyphemus after having stabbed the cyclops in its eye. This shows Odysseus’s arrogance, and sets up the whole story for the rest of his conflicts. “When they had made fast the running gear all along the black ship, then they set up the mixing bowls, filling them brimful with wine, and poured to the gods immortal and everlasting but beyond all other gods they poured to Zeus’ gray-eyed daughter” (Book 2, 430-433). This was when Telemachus was leaving Ithaca to go to Pylos and see Nestor. They made an offering to Athena, ironically while she was in the ship disguised as Mentor.
As mortals, Greeks were most likely afraid to question anything the gods did, and specifically not Zeus. The Greeks could have been punished by a natural disaster or an unleashed evil from the underworld. Zeus’s power was so influential as described by Hesiod, “for easily he makes them strong and easily he brings them low” (Works and Days lines 3-7). The fear of Zeus’s strong authority and ability to induce these terrors on the Greeks must have played a strong role in how they responded to Zeus’s sexual escapades. In addition, aside from their religion the Greeks, as humans, recognize the realistic quality of their lives and are aware of the uncertainty they endure.