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This book begins when Odysseus is at the banquet table of King Alcinous and Queen Arete. After his harrowing adventures, Odysseus seems very appreciative of the simple delights of safety indoors, lack of danger, the fellowship of people of good will, and plenty to eat and drink.
AND ODYSSEUS ANSWERED, “King Alcinous, it is a good thing to hear a bard with such a divine voice as this man has. There is nothing better or more delightful than when a whole people make merry together, with the guests sitting orderly to listen, while the table is loaded with bread and meats, and the cup-bearer draws wine and fills his cup for every man. This is indeed as fair a sight as a man can see. (Book IX)
Perhaps Odysseus is feeling that he will take care of his life a little better now, after all the danger and the death of all of his companions.
Probably the most significant evidence of character development comes when Odysseus is relating the sad story of his encounter with the Cyclops. He and his men had come to the Cyclops's cave while he was out, and were admiring his large store of food.
When they saw all this, my men begged me to let them first steal some cheeses, and make off with them to the ship; they would then return, drive down the lambs and kids, put them on board and sail away with them. It would have been indeed better if we had done so but I would not listen to them, for I wanted to see the owner himself, in the hope that he might give me a present. When, however, we saw him my poor men found him ill to deal with.
Afterwards, of course, the Cyclops imprisons Odysseus and his men, and eats several of them. In this passage Odysseus is acknowledging his foolhardiness in dealing with the Cyclops. He admits that his decision cost some of his men their lives.
During the rest of the story of the Cyclops, Odysseus tells of his own hubris (pride) but does not regret it. It is clear now that he made some bad decisions, but he does this by telling his own faults baldly, not by lamenting them. He does, however, show how sad he and his men were as they finally rowed away from the Cyclops island (ruefully noting that the Cyclops's great ram he sacrificed to Zeus did not help him in his future struggles).
As for the ram, my companions agreed that I should have it as an extra share; so I sacrificed it on the sea shore, and burned its thigh bones to Zeus, who is the lord of all. But he heeded not my sacrifice, and only thought how he might destroy both my ships and my comrades.
“Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we feasted our fill on meat and drink, but when the sun went down and it came on dark, we camped upon the beach. When the child of morning rosy-fingered Dawn appeared, I bade my men on board and loose the hawsers. Then they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars; so we sailed on with sorrow in our hearts, but glad to have escaped death though we had lost our comrades (Ibid).
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