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Why does Poseidon wish Odysseus dead in The Odyssey?

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kait-annette13 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:55 AM via iOS

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Why does Poseidon wish Odysseus dead in The Odyssey?

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handbooktoliterature | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM (Answer #1)

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In The Odyssey, the hero Odysseus is on an epic journey home from the Trojan War. Along the way, he struggles to keep his men focused on their goal of returning to Ithaca while facing difficult obstacles along  the way. However, some of these obstacles are sought out by the hero Odysseus in order to build his epic reputation.

One stop on the way home is the land of the cyclopes, where Odysseus decides to stop so he can, "find out what the mainland natives are-- for they may be wild savages, and lawless, or hsopitable and god fearing men" (9. 71-75). So, Odysseus' curiosity and sense of hero building leads he and 12 of his men to the cyclopes. 

On the island, Odysseus meets Polyphemus, a brute of a cyclops who traps Odyssues and his men in his cave in order to snack upon their bones. Odyssues uses his cunning and devises a plan where he blinds Polyphemus with a large stake to the eye and helps his men escape beneath the cyclops' flock. 

As Odysseus and his men sail away and make their escape, Odysseus makes sure Polyphemus knows that Odysseus is the man who defeated him, and he shouts as he leaves, "Cyclops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were to put shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye" (9. 416-419).

Learning the name of Odyssues, Polyphemus says he will pray to his father, POSEIDON for Odysseus to "never see his home" (9. 445).

From that point forward, God of the seas, Poseidon, tries to ruin Odysseus' journey home.

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