Polyphemus As Barbaric In Homer's 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 is a reliable narrator. With Odysseus telling this to Alcinous, his host about his travels Odysseus is more likely to depict Polyphemus as barbaric. Odysseus also sets the tone of Book 9 by introducing it with him talking about, “the bitter pains I’ve borne,/so I’m to weep and grieve, it seems, still more.[...]What pains___the gods have given me my share.” (Homer 9.13-16) This sets an expectation by both the audience and Alcinous that the story will be highly hyperbolized to show Odysseus’, pains throughout the tale. So with Book 9 being the first of his part of his journey that he is sharing with Alcinous he is likely to exaggerate the saga to make Polyphemus appear to be barbaric.…show more content…
Homer shows King Alcinous and his treatment of Odysseus before Polyphemus is introduced and this skews what we would of 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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