The Cyclops In The Odyssey

448 Words2 Pages

In The Odyssey, the Cyclops is a monster because of his key differences from mere human beings, specifically his lack of wit and of morals. Depicting these qualities as monstrous support that cleverness and a general regard for human life were heavily valued in Greek culture. Odysseus easily trick the Cyclops bragging, “I poured him another fiery bowl - three bowls I brimmed and three he drank to the last drop, the fool”(9.404-406). To describe the bowls of wine as fiery foreshadows the demise of the Cyclops. Odysseus was able to use his brain, not strength, to make the Cyclops drink himself into a stupor. That Odysseus is depicted as not just strong, but smart, shows that extreme intelligence was praised in Greek culture. The Cyclops was …show more content…

Odysseus illustrates, “he knocked them dead like pups - their brains gushed out all over, soaked the floor - and ripping them limb from limb to fix his meal he bolted them down like a mountain-lion” (9.327-329) A “mountain-lion” is a predator which has no regard for the lives of species it sees as lesser than itself. The Cyclops sees humans as less than itself, “ripping them limb from limb.” At this point in the tale, the crew had not done anything to provoke the Cyclops. The brute kills them with no reason, meaning he enjoys killing, rather than doing it for revenge. In Greek culture, honor was immensely important and the Cyclops has none. In contrast, Odysseus brags about the great feats of Agamemnon yelling, “So great a city he sacked, such multitudes he killed”(9.298-299) That Odysseus sees pride in killing, shows that the Greeks valued killing, but only if honorable. There is a stark contrast between the killings of the Cyclops and those of King Agamemnon. In the eyes of the Greeks, Agamemnon’s killings were for his country, his people, and the greater good of society. These murders had a selfless purpose. The Cyclops however, has no purpose in any of his ways, supported by his lack of intelligence. He kills only for sport, making him a true monster in the eyes of Greek culture. One that can not think, and kills with no purpose, must be a monster in the eyes of Greek

Open Document