In book 9 of "The Adventure of Odysseus and the Cyclops" Is Odysseus a reliable or unreliable narrator?I am to support my answer with examples from the story.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus' function as a narrator can be seen as tragically human.  There are conditions when his account in Book IX is accurate, but there are also significant omissions from his account.  Homer might be trying to suggest that mortals lack the comprehensive and totality to be able to render a completely flawless vision of reality.  Certainly, there are elements to Odysseus' account which are accurate.  When you go back to find examples from the story, identify the facts that he retells that actually happened (the capture of he and his men and the imprisonment are two such examples.)  Yet, his account is somewhat unreliable because he leaves out some of his own actions which represent hubris, and cast him in a not so positive light.  Odysseus and his men drug the monster until it passes out, and then stab him with a timber in his single eye, and certainly this is accurate.  Yet, in Odysseus retelling go back in the text and see if there are any elements that reflect the hubris he possessed.  He leaves out how Odysseus boasted about his accomplishment to his men, saying to them that if he were to meet the cyclops again, he would   “take your life” and “hurl you down to hell!”  Poseidon, himself, sees the hubris Odysseus demonstrated to his son, the Cyclops, and condemns him.  Try to find evidence where Odysseus eliminates this detail from his narration in Book IX.

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The Odyssey

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