The Odyssey

Book 9

Summary

Odyssey tells the Phaeacians about his journey. He starts with them attacking the Cicones. Then they get stuck with the Lotus-eaters. They get stuck there for 9 days before they eventually got back to the ship and took off. Next they get to the land of the Cyclops. Odysseus' and his men find a cave. It is full of milk and cheese from the Cyclops' sheep. Odysseus' is curious and sticks around. Eventually a cyclops named Polyphemus comes into the cave. He brings his sheep in and closes the entrance with a huge stone. Odysseus' and his men are now stuck. Polyphemus is a cyclops and cyclops don't follow the rules of hospitality. Polyphemus kills and eats 2 of Odysseus' men. Odysseus wants to kill him but only the cyclops and move the stone in front of the entrance. Odysseus gets Polyphemus drunk and stabs his eye. Odysseus tells him that his name is Nobody. Polyphemus gets angry and screams for his neighbors, when the get there Polyphemus tells them that Nobody is hurting him. Odysseus and his men cling onto the bellies of the sheep and in the morning when Polyphemus lets his sheep out, all of the men get out. When they get back to the ship, Odysseus mocks Polyphemus and tells him his name and Polyphemus uses Poseidon to curse Odysseus.

Characters

Polyphemus- Polyphemus is the son of Poseidon. He is a cyclops. He eats 6 of Odysseus' men and is blinded by Odysseus. Polyphemus lives in a cave by himself. He represents the Cyclops race. They don't farm, they don't follow the rules, they don't have laws, they live alone, and many other things. These things separate the human race from the Cyclops.


Lotus-eaters- The lotus-eaters is more of a place. It is a place were people eat lotus flowers. The plant has an affect that makes people delusional. They lose track of there thoughts and they lose track of time.


Cicones- The Cicones is also more of a place. Odysseus and his men sack the island for food, money, women, etc.

Themes

Hospitality- Hospitality is shown in reverse in this book. Odysseus tries to be a good guest for Polyphemus. Polyphemus is a cyclops, and cyclops don't follow the rules of hospitality. Odysseus offers the cyclops food and wine and in return Polyphemus should let him stay and feed him. But because Polyphemus is a cyclops things don't go as they would if Polyphemus was a human. Polyphemus is punished for his non-hospitality by being blinded by Odysseus. Odysseus and his men also over welcomed their stay and stayed longer than they should have.

Quotes

"Hear me, Poseidon who circle the earth, dark-haired. If truly I am your son, and you acknowledge yourself as my father, grant that Odysseus, sacker of cities, son of Laertes, who makes his home in Ithaka, may never reach that home; but if it is decided that he shall see his own people, and come home to his strong-founded house and to his own country, let him come late, in bad case, with the loss of all his companions, in someone else’s ship, and find troubles in his household.” ‘So he spoke in prayer, and the dark-haired god heard him."

Analysis- This quote is one of the most important quotes. It leads to Odysseus' long journey home. Odysseus hurt Polyphemus so he cries to Poseidon who then makes life very hard for Odysseus.


"Stranger, you are a simple fool, or come from far off, when you tell me to avoid the wrath of the gods or fear them. The Cyclopes do not concern themselves over Zeus of the aegis, nor any of the rest of the blessed gods, since we are far better than they"

Analysis- This quote explains the cyclops. In any other situation Greeks would honor their guest because they believe if they don't they will be punished by the gods. But since Cyclops don't care about the gods they don't have to follow the rules that regular Greeks do.


"Cyclops- if any man on the face of the earth should ask who blinded you, shamed you so- say Odysseus, radier of cities, he gouged out your eye, Laertes' son who makes his home in Ithaca."

Analysis- This quote is important because now Polyphemus knows who blinded him and can ask Poseidon to revenge him. If Odysseus wouldn't have taunted him, he may have made it home a lot quicker and easier.