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What qualities does Odysseus show in the episodes he relates in Books 9-12? Does he appear to learn anything as these adventures progress?

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  • Essay length: 3186 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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AS and A Level Classics

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What qualities does Odysseus show in the episodes he relates in Books 9-12? Does he appear to learn anything as these adventures progress?

Books 9-12 are a tale of a journey in which the protagonist does not remain the same throughout. He changes due to the places he has been, people he has met and things he has done. These four books are almost entirely spoken by Odysseus and thus we are able to receive a first hand report.

At the start his wanderings, Odysseus leaves Troy with his Ithacan fleet and in a short time they come to Ismarus, the city of the Cicones. Odysseus states simply that he "sacked this place" and there they took "vast plunder". Here we see the hero of the Iliad doing what a hero does. At the end of this book, Odysseus declares his identity to Polyphemus, in which he describes himself as a "sacker of cities". This is because he is only a short time into his travels and only recently he has sacked Troy and Ismarus. However, when Odysseus tells the Phaeacians who he is, he attributes his 'kleos' (everlasting fame on the lips of men) to

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