Essay on Odysseus, By Edith Hamilton

Essay on Odysseus, By Edith Hamilton

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Odysseus faced a hard battle in Troy and in Book IX, he narrates how he and his men travelled back home to Ithaca. When Odysseus and his men land in the Cyclopes’ land, they witness how fertile the giants’ untilled lands are, and how they have plentiful of sheep and goats. Odysseus knows the giants are “for they may be wild savages, and lawless, or hospitable and god fearing men” (Homer 150). However, the abundance of food and livestock was enough motivation for them to risk their lives. Edith Hamilton’s book—Mythology, analyzes the characters and themes of the mysticism of Greek epics. She explains that the Cyclopes were the only survivors of the initial “monstrous forms of life” (Hamilton 79). On the other hand, she describes that the Cyclopes lived plentifully because they were hard workers and manufactured Zeus’ thunderbolts, which pleased Zeus to the extent of providing them with a “fortunate country” (Hamilton 105).
Hence, the Odysseus’ narration of how the giant that discovered them reacted is contentious. According to Odysseus, the giant demeaned the power and respect for the gods after he explained that as mere mortals they expected their host to ape Zeus’ courtesy towards visitors, “have a care for the gods’ courtesy; Zeus will avenge the unofferending guest.” (Homer 153). The giant answered that he and the other Cyclopes in general had no respect for any god because they “We Kyklopes care not a whistle..have more force by far” (Homer 153). However, Hamilton’s description of the relationship between the Cyclopes and Zeus suggested otherwise. She implied that the Cyclopes worked for Zeus, and in return, Zeus awarded them with wealth. Therefore, it remains unclear why the giant after discovering Odysseus and his men would...


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... draws the concern of the other giants. Yet, Odysseus had confidently stated prior to visiting the island that Cyclops do not meddle in each other’s affairs. Why, then, did the neighbor giants ask Polyphemus what was going on? They must have been at least worried about him. That means, therefore, that the Cyclopes accounted for their neighbors’ safety. In turn, it suggests that they must have assembled to discuss common matters in some instances.
In conclusion, the epic contained references to gods and civility. However, the Cyclopes-Odysseus incident included conflicting descriptions about how the mortals related with their gods. While Odysseus maintains his respect for the supernatural, Polyphemus throws the narration off balance by suggesting otherwise—although prior explanations by Edith Hamilton suggested that even the Cyclops had a close relationship with Zeus.

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