Book Review: Odyssey
In the Odyssey pages 110 – 111 is like the beginning. It starts of with Odysseus talking about his tale with King Alcinious. They talk about odysseus’ troubles and where he has come from. From pages 110 – 111 we understand a bit more about the culture back then. Odysseus is a very cocky man and thinks very highly of himself. He talks about a goddess wanting to marry him and how he declined and also about the whole world knowing who he is. ‘But my fools of men refused’ This tells us that his men didn’t follow his commands and he wasn’t happy with them. We also know that his men are quite greedy ‘and they kept on drinking and butchering sheep’. We find out that Zeus doesn’t like him on line 51 (‘At dawn they were on us, thick as the leaves and flowers in spring, and disaster, sent by Zeus to makes us suffer’).
After nine days, the Odyseeus’ reached the land of the Lotus eaters. There, the crewmen that ate the fruit of lotus lost all hope and want, to return and all memory of their home. The lotus eaters had good xenia however it was for the worse of them. They only wanted to stay and eat lotus. But Odysseus being a good leader saved them and forced them to return to the ships, tied them to the ships masts, and told the remaining men to set sail.
After this he went to the land of the cyclops and stumble upon one cyclops called Polythene’s. The land of the cyclops had no rules and was very uncivilised, globalised, and neighbourly like. Odysseus bought a few of his men to go and visit the island leaving the others on another island. When they arrived shore they saw lots of flocks and sheep. They then saw a cave (the home of the Polythenes). They then goto the giants hows but but the giant was not at home, and the crew looked at his flocks, his cheeses, and his buckets for milking. The men wanted to take what they could and run back to the ships, but Odysseus insisted that they stay to receive the giant’s gifts. This tells us that they are very greedy link back with when they were in Troy.
In the evening when the Cyclops arrived back home he milked his cows and closed the big rock closing the cave and lit a fire. He then spotted the men and asked who they were. Odysseus said they are Arachenes and asked if he could follow the customs and respect him. The cyclops said he does not fear Zeus the king of Gods. He promptly bashed two men dead against the ground and ate them gruesomely. Odysseus wanted to kill the gruesome Cyclops, Son of Poseidon, but realised that if he attempted this he wouldn’t be able to get out of the cave.
For breakfast he ate two more men and lit the fire. He milked his sheep and did his daily arents. He then left for the day, shutting the entrance of the cave behind him with the huge rock. When the Cyclops left Odysseus started plotting his revenge. He took the Cyclops’ staff and filed it down and heated it to make it sharp. Polythemus then arrived in the evening, milked his sheep and goats, and ate two more men for dinner. Odysseus being a cunning man offered Odysseus very strong wine Odysseus then asked for his name and he replied with ‘Nobody’. In thanks for the wine, Polyphemus promised to eat him last and fell asleep, vomiting human flesh. Seeing their chance, Odysseus and four other men heated up the sharpened club and used it to gouge out the Cyclops’ eye. Polyphemus screamed in agony, and other Cyclops’ rushed up to his cave and asked who was hurting him. The Cyclops yelled ‘Nobody,’ so they walked away. Odysseus was delighted that his trick succeeded.
Odysseus then plotted their escape. He organised the ram in groups of three and one man on each rams belly he lashed himself to the belly of the remaining old ram. This tells us that Odysseus thinks about his men before him, being a good leader. When the Cyclops arrived he let his sheep leave, the men escaped too. Once out of the cave Odysseus untied himself and his men and they all rushed to the ships. When they were out on the water, Odysseus yelled back to Polyphemus that Zeus has punished him for his crimes. In response, the furious Polyphemus broke off the top of a cliff and threw it in the direction of the ship, so that a wave drove the ship back to shore. Once they were at a safe distance again, Odysseus yelled back again to say that it was he, Odysseus, that blinded the Cyclops, if anyone should ask.
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