MillerEnglish I – Pre-Ap Per. 229 November 2017The Odyssey Analytical Journals1 November 2017Journal 1: Polyphemus, the giant cyclops, does not hold up to the Greek ideology of Xenia, instead he is much annoyed and distraught at the fact that “strangers” would just let themselves in, this is because he has no reason to accept anyone in fear that they may be a god or immortal, since he himself, is a Cyclops, whose force is superior to the gods. For example, Polyphemus grumbles “Strange… you must be a fool, stranger, or come from nowhere, telling me to fear the gods or avoid their wrath! We cyclops never blink at Zeus… we’ve got more force by far.”(9.306-308). This quote shows how Polyphemus feels about Xenia and why he has no reason to follow it.
This is because he is a Cyclops and does not need to follow rules like others for the gods. “… we’re at your knees in hopes of a warm welcome, even a guest gift, the sort that hosts give strangers.” (9.
300-302). This quote here shows the way that hospitality was treated in ancient Greece and that Xenia was very commonplace. Odysseus automatically assumes that he will be treated with a “warm welcome” and a “guest gift”, but instead finds himself battling an irate, one-eyed, giant. It would appear that Polyphemus does not accept the overall concept of Xenia and is not frightened of the gods in anyway, so naturally he is not the most fond of strangers, especially ones named Odysseus. 6 November 2017Journal 2: Odysseus’s weaknesses, such as his pride (hubris) and high ego cause him a excruciatingly long journey back home to Ithaca. For instance, Odysseus tells Polyphemus that he really killed him, which “Made the rage of the monster boil over. Ripping off the peak… he heaved it so hard the boulder landed just in front… the sudden backwash dorve us landward again,” (9.226).
The large beast decides to throw massive rocks at the crew over his anger of the situation. If it were not for his ego and pride, then the One-Eyed Giant would not have been so Irate. “I called back to the Cyclops… ‘so cyclops, no weak coward it was whose crew you bent to devour… if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you… say Odysseus,”(9.226-227). Odysseus could not stand the fact that he would not get credit for defeating the great Cyclops, Polyphemus, so he decided to jeer at the giant and boast about his actions.
This causes the Cyclops to get angry and threaten the hero, thus creating much hardship for our great hero, Odysseus. Odysseus’ weakness of hubris contributes to the trouble he gets into in the first book when he begins to brag and taunt the Cyclops, which ends in tragedy when Polyphemus throws boulders at his crew, thus creating a load of trouble. 10 November 2017Journal 3: It is a challenge for Odysseus to put up with the abuse dealt on him as a beggar and not show his true feelings, because he can be stubborn and impatient as well as lacking restraint, but by completing trials such as the Polyphemus, the cattle of Helios, and Circe’s Palace, Odysseus has been able to manage his self-control much better through his mistakes.
For example, Odysseus realizes he could kill the suitors then and there when a stool is thrown at him, but instead he “stood up against it – steady as a rock, unstaggered by Antinous’ blow … he went to the doorsill,” (17.512-515). During the beginning of the journey it seemed as if Odysseus lacked restraint and patience, like a child, but it seems that he has come a long way. Although Odysseus is bullied by the suitors throughout this chapter, he still manages to shows extreme self control especially when he is provoked by Antinous.
Odysseus wasn’t always this wise though, in Chapter 9 Odysseus is battling the giant Cyclops, Polyphemus, and begins to taunt the cyclops by saying “So, Cyclops, no weak coward it was whose crew you bent to devour… you with your brute force! Your filthy crimes,”(9.531-533). This quote shows how immature and impatient Odysseus could be, while at the beginning of his journey.
He taunted the Cyclops only to realize all it did was harm him and the rest of his crew. Odysseus is challenged throughout his time in Ithaca as a beggar because he is not used to showing so much patience and self control, but then rectifies his mistakes on his journey by learning from them. 14 November 2017Journal 4: The author of the Odyssey, Homer, uses literary devices such as similes to depict Odysseus as an epic hero throughout the epic poem by comparing his actions and situations to those that show boring, everyday tasks (of their time). For example, while Odysseus is trapped with the Cyclops, the author writes “So we seized our stake with its fiery tip and bored it round and round in the giant’s eye… its crackling roots blazed and hissed – as a blacksmith plunges a glowing ax… in an ice – cold bath and the metal screeches steam,”(9.433-439). The author is comparing the screeching sound that a hot piece of metal makes when it is dipped in cold water, to the sound Odysseus’ sword makes when it pierces the giant’s eye. This quote shows the heroism that Odysseus possesses throughout the epic poem and how the author uses words and similes to convey this message. Another simile is also presented in the same part where Odysseus explains that he “drove his weight on the eye from above and bored it home like a shipwright bores his beam with a shipwright’s drill that men below, whipping the strap back and forth, whirl and the drill keeps twisting, never stopping –So we seized our stake with it fiery tip and bored it round and round in the giant’s eye,”(9.
429-433). In this quote Odysseus is shown, yet again, proving his unflinching courage and heroism in a simile by fighting off the dreadful cyclops. The author is now comparing Odysseus putting all his weight to drive the ax into the Cyclops eye to a shipwright drilling on a ship.
Homer uses similes in the Odyssey to convey Odysseus as an epic hero by comparing his brave actions to those of regular everyday situations. 17 November 2017Journal 5: Homer uses characterization to express various different themes throughout the epic poem through Odysseus and his peers by putting them in situations that ultimately reflect their character and present a message to the reader. For example, Odysseus tells the Cyclops “We’re at your knees in hopes of a warm welcome, even a guest-gift, the sort that hosts give strangers, that’s the custom” (9.300-302). In this quote Odysseus is shown conversing with a stranger (Polyphemus) expecting to be fed and welcomed into the stranger’s home but, unfortunately Odysseus’ expectations of hospitality are not met and with unbridled rage Polyphemus starts eating his crew members. Odysseus acts brave and confident, without a fear of what’s happening, as usual, but because of his expectations about Xenia, his crew suffers.
Another example of theme being presented through characterization is when Odysseus is tied “hand and foot in the swift ship, erect at the mast-block, lashed by ropes to the mast so he can hear the Sirens’ song to his heart’s content,”(12.55-58). This occurs when Odysseus crosses paths with temptation as he hears the sirens while sailing back to Ithaca. Odysseus, being himself, is stubborn and wants to hear the song that they will sing for him, even though it will lure him to his demise if not strapped tight, thus introducing the theme of temptation and danger through characterization. Homer incorporates characterization into theme throughout the epic poem, whether it be through Odysseus and his crew defeating a cyclops, or by protecting themselves from tempting women on the sea, Homer always finds a way to blend and incorporate the two literary devices.