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The first two situations Odysseus faces (as described in Book 9) show two sides of his character. The land of the Lotus Eaters shows readers his power of will—his focus. His men eat the lotus, but he does not. Instead, he masters them, forcing them to go back on ship. This shows self-control. This is contrasted to the second instance, where Polyphemus can be blinded because he allows himself to get drunk (out of control). Odysseus shows that he is cunning here, by blinding the Cyclops and then through his means of escape. He also shows he is not perfect by taunting the blinded Cyclops as he's leaving.
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