Homer Questions and Answers

Homer book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In the Cyclopes, how many men go ashore with Odysseus?

Expert Answers info

Garrett Walker eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write399 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Law and Politics

In Book 9 of the Odyssey, protagonist Odysseus relates to the Phaeacians his encounter with Polyphemus the Cyclops. He took twelve men ashore with him to the land of the Cyclopes and told the rest to remain on the boat. As he relates to his listeners:

"I told my men to draw the ship ashore, and stay where they were, all but the twelve best among them, who were to go along with myself.

Polyphemus discovers Odysseus and his men hiding in his cave; he eats two of them and imprisons the rest. Odysseus uses cunning to intoxicate Polyphemus with wine and then stab him in the eye, rendering him blind. Moreover, Odysseus tells Polyphemus his name is "Nobody," so the giant's neighbors are not alarmed when he yells "Nobody is killing me!"

Odysseus and his men escape on their ship, but Odysseus' pride gets the best of him. As he leaves, he tells Polyphemus his real name. Polyphemus tells his father--the god Poseidon--how Odysseus treated him, and the god responds by shipwrecking Odysseus.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial