In Homer's The Odyssey Polyphemus' speech to his ram contradicts whatever impressions we have of him. Why? Provide evidence to illustrate your answer.

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hilahmarca eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Polyphemus, a Cyclops in the epic poem The Odyssey, is a brute. He is a beast with no manners or gentle nature. He follows no laws. He and the other Cyclopes do not follow the laws of man or even the gods. The law of hospitality means nothing to him. When he finds Odysseus and his companions in his cave and Odysseus demands hospitality, Polyphemus eats some of Odysseus' men. He is wild and crude and chooses to live a solitary lifestyle, even having little to no contact with the other Cyclopes. Therefore, it is surprising to hear the care in his voice as he addresses his ram, wondering why this particular animal will not go out to pasture as it usually does. He is deeply concerned for the animal calling it "sweet cousin ram". It's a contradiction for an untamed, wild beast such as Polyphemus to show that he has the capacity for compassion for another living thing.

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The Odyssey

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