Wine In The Odyssey

668 Words3 Pages
In Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey,” the protagonist Odysseus’ decision to bring wine with him to offer to the Cyclops, whose home he and his men were invading, was crucial to his entire journey being set in motion. After Odysseus, a Greek hero who fights in the Trojan War, wins, he and his men have to return to their home of Ithaca. On their way, they find themselves in what is known as the Land of the Cyclops. Cyclops were, as Odysseus describes them, “giants, louts, without a law to bless them” (Homer 10). Their lives were spent dwelling in caves and tending to their herds of sheep. Odysseus wanted to bargain with these creatures, since in his previous stops he’s had multiple supporters who assisted him along the journey. But Odysseus clearly did not expect voluntary assistance from such a rowdy beast, so he decides to bring his finest wine. He states, “I had a goatskin full of that sweet liquor that Euanthes’ son, Maron, had given me… he gave me seven shining golden talents, a solid silver winebowl, and then this liquor-twelve two-handled jars of brandy, pure and fiery” (Homer 137-138, 142-145). This wine was so powerful that one cupful had to have been diluted throughout twenty cupfuls of water (Homer 148-149). Odysseus then, with his men and wine, marched onto the island and went to talk to the Cyclops. He asked for assistance and hospitality, which is a major Greek value. The obstacle was that the Cyclops was not a refined beast; after Odysseus politely requested aid the Cyclops out of a fit of anger ate two of his men.
After the Cyclop’s outrageous actions, Odysseus knew he had to formulate a plan to escape the beast’s lair. The hero
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Odysseus reflects, “If I killed him we perished there as well, for we could never move his ponderous doorway slab aside” (Homer
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