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This incident serves to demonstrate several traits of Odysseus and, despite its brutality, is a favorite in his quest to return home. It shows his concern and protective loyalty to his soldiers, and his unselfishness even in his strong desire to return to Ithaca. But primarily it shows his cleverness, inventiveness, intelligence – an important character trait and a “weapon” he uses as a warrior (contrasted with the brute strength of Ajax, for example; he demonstrates his understanding of “how the world works” in that he foresees Polyphemus’ reaction, his weakness, his priorities, his “blindness” (not just ocular but in not guessing at the presence of the soldiers under the sheep).
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