There are three main groups of characters in the section of the Odyssey known as the Cyclopeia. The first group is the Cyclopes, the second Odysseus, and the third Odysseus's sailors.
The Cyclopes are a group of giants with a single eye in the middle of their foreheads. Polyphemus, a son of Poseidon, is the most monstrous of the lot, shunning the company of his fellow monsters and living alone. He enjoys the taste of human flesh and has little sympathy for human beings, although he does treat his flock of sheep well. His behavior, in trapping the sailors in a cave by rolling a rock in the entrance, violates the Greek norms of hospitality.
Odysseus is portrayed as more clever and level-headed than his sailors, who mainly serve as foils to their leader, and creates the plan to get Polyphemus drunk and blind him while he is passed out. That and the subsequent scheme to escape clinging to the bellies of the rams shows Odysseus's ability to plan well. His boasting and telling Polyphemus his real name, though, shows Odysseus's ego can at times override his sense of self-preservation.