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The Odyssey: Homer characterizes the Kyklops in such a way as to reveal the birth of Odysseus's well profound strengths as well as his inability to exercise restraint.

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Introduction

Christopher Yeung Humanities 24/09/05 Instructor: Maryanne Ward The Odyssey Homer characterizes the Kyklops in such a way as to reveal the birth of Odysseus's well profound strengths as well as his inability to exercise restraint. In this essay I will analyze the significance of the one eyed Kyklops Polyphemos as an attempt to study Homer's characterizing of the main character Odysseus. I will analyze the Kyklops's interaction with Odysseus and will identify the various literary techniques used by Homer while simultaneously explaining the significance and effectiveness of these methods to the plot development of this epic poem. In order to present this pre-eminent epic of action to a more striking effect, Homer uses two devices of characterization, the epithet and the simile in book IX when he describes the scene involving Polyphemos and Odysseus. Both techniques were used to provide additional information about the two characters and to reveal different aspects of Homer's development of Odyssey's state of mind. After the war of Troy Odysseus and his crew attempted to find their way back to Odysseus's home Ithaca, but due to their lack of responsibility they were met with some resistance and choose to rest on a strange island inhabited by a Kyklops. ...read more.

Middle

Even after his crew begged for their departure "Why bait the beast again? Let him alone!" Odysseus still insisted on adding insult to injury by mocking Polyphemos and reciting his name. (538-539). It is at this point that as he mocked Polyphemos, Poseidon invites the wrath of the god on his shipmates as he foolishly reveals information about himself. Apart from the obvious display of character traits in the actual content of the poem Homer uses literary devices to depict the characteristics of Polyphemos and Odysseus. Homer humanizes Polyphemos in order create a character foil and also to draw the audience's attention to the sometimes-inhuman choices made by Odysseus. Homer traces the development of Odysseus's state of mind using similes as a technique to bring this cartoon like character to life by comparing his habits to that of other animals. Homer uses the simile when he compares Polyphemos's demeanor to that of a lion, "gaping and crunching like a mountain lion". (317) Homer uses irony to further convey his message to his audience presenting Polyphemos as a cruel hearted beast in his attack but yet describes him as a "Shepard with his flock". ...read more.

Conclusion

This proves to be effective as the audience remains attentive and adds humor. Homer also uses Polyphemos to play an important role to show Odysseus's indignity and provide his audience with an insight that Odysseus' future will be threatened if he persists in thinking in this irrational manner. Because of Odysseus's behavior, Poseidon father of Polyphemos promises him punishment and great misery.The major use of the gods by Homer is to respond to actions by the mortals and reprimand them for misconduct. Homer tries to show that Odysseus's mind state has depreciated throughout the battle of Troy is not ready for what lies ahead. This aids in plot development as it shows transition of his state of mind from that of war, in which he used to fighting and chaos to a reformation in his decisions to that of his homeward journey. Odysseus committed the crime of blinding Poseidon's son and received a punishment of epic proportions. If he was rational and had simply tricked Polyphemos he might have been forgiven, but added insult to injury. Consequently to this transgression in his behavior he and his family paid dearly. This episode of Polyphemos proves to be important as it plays a crucial key role in plot development and reveals fundamental aspects about Odysseus's character. ...read more.

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