• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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.

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. How important is Book 11 to the overall meaning of The Odyssey?

    His men 'like white-tusked swine slaughtered in the mansion of some rich and powerful lord, for a wedding, or a banquet, or a sumptuous private feast.' (Lines 413-415.) This is most likely in reference to Circe's enchantment of Odysseus' men.

  2. The Odyssey by Homer

    Athene then helps him sleep. Here we meet Odysseus at last and we are given many examples of his steadfast spirit and endurance. His willingness to retain his mortality and withstand the many dangers that lie ahead of him endears Odysseus' character to his audience.

  1. Select one important episode/figure (human or divine) from The Odyssey and show what contribution ...

    In fact it is known to thousands, to all the peoples who live in the direction of dawn and sunrise and all who live in the opposite direction." 12 Through Telemachus' travels Homer shows that Odysseus is infamous for his part in the Trojan war and, just like Ithaca, is known by many.

  2. Free essay

    Assess the role that women play in The Odyssey

    Penelope's decision to test Odysseus (23: 178-81) is also a key role she plays in the development of the plot. The marriage bed test also relates back to the Shroud of Laertes and the stringing of the bow as it shows her as a resourceful and cunning woman, not just

  1. Whom do you admire more as a leader – Odysseus in the Odyssey or ...

    their own transgression that brought them to their doom" O.1.6). The point that these are his fellow countrymen, whom he should have the utmost concern for , as their king, seems to be ignored. Aeneas has no legal duty to his crew as their king, unlike Odysseus.

  2. Were coins used in the Roman Empire more for propaganda purposes or as a ...

    Coins developed throughout history and their metals developed too. Most coins to the present date have many metals combined to make an alloy, thus making it hard for a coin to be valued by its base metal. So we stamp a value on the coin.

  1. What qualities does Odysseus show in the episodes he relates in Books 9-12? Does ...

    If Ajax were to go on that same voyage as Odysseus then he wouldn't have succeeded, not having the same skills of deception or mental prowess. One could view Odysseus' vanquishing of Polyphemus by one of his stratagems as physical proof that 'bi�' without 'metis' can not be victorious.

  2. Internal and External Conflicts in The Odyssey

    During the period of time when Odysseus was in Ithaca and was disguised as a beggar, he is hosted in his own home by Telemakhos, his son, which knew his true identity. The external part of this particular conflict is how the suitors offend and regard Odysseus as inferior compared to them.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work