"The Odyssey" Chapter 9

Megan Fontenot & Allyson Witt

Chapter 9 Summary

In "The Odyssey" chapter 9, the main character, Odysseus, is confronted by King Alcinous, where he is inquired to recount his many challenges and adventures he faced in his quest to return home. The first challenge Odysseus faced was escaping from the clutches of the goddess Calypso, which he did easily. After escaping the enchantress’s lair, Odysseus and his crew raided the city of Cicons, but they lost many men because of this. Their next stop was the Land of the Lotus Eaters, where Odysseus ordered three of his men to go out and examine the island. While examining the island, the men ate fruit from the Lotus Trees, which were so delicious that the men refused to leave the island, for all they wished to do was sit among the trees and eat. However, Odysseus refused to leave his men behind and forced them into cells in the bottom of the ship. Afterward, Odysseus and his crew stopped at the Land of the Cyclopes, where they ate goats that belonged to the Cyclops’. The next morning, Odysseus wanted to explore the rest of the land, which resulted in his crew and himself being captured by Polyphemus, who ate two of Odysseus’ men. After this, the Cyclopes asked Odysseus for his name, to which he replied “Nobody.” In order to free themselves, Odysseus got the Cyclopes drunk, and, when he passed out, Odysseus and four of his men stabbed the Cyclopes in his eye to blind him, and, although the Cyclopes was yelling for help, Odysseus had already fooled him because Polyphemus was screaming, "Nobody is killing me by force!" However, there was still a large bolder in front of the door, so Odysseus and his crew hid under the bellies of goats the Cyclopes kept in his cave, which the Cyclopes let out in the mornings to eat. The next morning, the Cyclopes let his goats out, which also freed Odysseus and his men. After they escaped to their boats however, Odysseus started taunting the Cyclopes, so, in retaliation, the Cyclopes started throwing boulders at their ships, which almost ended in disaster.

What is an Epic Hero, and Why is Odysseus Considered and Epic Hero?

An epic hero is a brave and noble character in an epic poem, admired for great achievements or affected by a grand event. Odysseus is considered an epic hero because he meets nearly all of the qualifications needed to be considered an epic hero.

1. Excels in skill, strength, and courage: Odysseus is very cunning and courageous when he and his men blind the Cyclopes.

2. Succeeds in war and adventure:

He Successfully raided the city of Cicons and escaped Polyphemus.

3. Values honor and glory:

Going to war and starting this adventure both show that Odysseus values honor and glory, which would be achieved through completing his mission.

4. Usually has a guide

5. Battles demons or monsters:

Odysseus has to escape from Polyphemus' lair.

6. Is generous to his followers but ruthless to enemies:

After raiding Cicons, Odysseus split the loot equally amongst his men and himself.

7. Is a man of action:

Instead of accepting their supposed fate, Odysseus devises a plan to escape the Cyclopes' lair.

8.Accepts challenges and sometimes invites problems:

After making it to their ships, Odysseus taunts the Cyclopes for letting them escape.

9. Sometimes make rash decisions and takes unnecessary risks:

Raiding Cicons was an unnecessary risk because they already had all the supplies they needed to return home.

10. Meets monsters and temptations:

The Land of the Lotus Eaters was a great temptation for Odysseus and his men because if they ate the fruit, they would never leave. Odysseus meets the Cyclopes.

11. Encounters women who tempt him:

In the beginning of the story, Odysseus tells how he first escaped the lairs of the goddess Calypso and the Aeanean goddess Circe.

12. Descends into darkness (often the underworld):

Does not Occur in This Chapter.

13. Achieves his goal:

Does not Occur in This Chapter.

Major Characters

Odysseus- Leader of the mission and main character.

Polyphemus- Cyclopes that captures Odysseus and his men.

King Alcinous- Asked Odysseus to tell the story.