In Homer's The Odyssey, how does Odysseus express his pride?

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shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Homers' Odysseus is a literary hero of legendary proportions. But it isn't his physical prowess that makes him so formidable. Homer portrays Odysseus as a relatively average man in terms strength, but as a man unequaled in terms of intelligence and cunning. But, like many heroes, Odysseus has a character flaw, and that flaw is hubris, also known as excessive pride. Sometimes we see his cunning and his pride occur almost simultaneously, as in his conflict with the one-eyed Cyclops.

Odysseus and his men find themselves trapped in the cave of the giant monster, Polyphemus. After several men are killed and eaten, Odysseus comes up with several clever ideas to fool Polyphemus and win the Greeks' freedom. As the men run for their lives for the ship and then row away, Polyphemus nearly hits the ship with a boulder, which could have killed more of the men.

Nevertheless, Odysseus' pride asserts itself, as he can't resist taunting the cyclops:

Cyclops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laertes' son, whose home's on Ithaca!

Polyphemus then appeals to his father, Poseidon, God of the Sea, to keep Odysseus from reaching home for years, and then only after losing all his men. This request comes true. Odysseus appears to have cost his men their lives with his foolish pride.  

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The Odyssey

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