The Odyssey Questions and Answers
by Homer

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How does Odysseus help his men overcome their fear as the ship approaches Scylla and Charybdis?

Odysseus helps his men to overcome their fear of Charybdis, the whirlpool, by telling them that they were in more danger when the Cyclops had them imprisoned in his cave. He does not mention the existence of Scylla, the monster, so the men do not know there is anything to fear from her until it is too late. Odysseus pursues this course because he considers the whirlpool a greater danger and wants his men to concentrate on avoiding it.

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In Book Twelve, Odysseus departs from Aeaea after having conferred with Circe concerning the next stage of his journey. This is an important detail to be aware of: Odysseus did have forewarning about the challenges he would encounter moving forwards, and was working off of Circe's advice.

After escaping the sirens, Odysseus has to choose between sailing too close to Scylla, a six-headed monster that strikes from a cave, and Charybdis, a giant whirlpool. Circe advises him to sail close to Scylla and not offer any resistance, stating that it would be better to lose six crew members than his entire ship. Odysseus follows this counsel.

As they approach this stage of the journey, his crewmen are described as terrified. Thus, Odysseus tries to rouse their spirits, reminding them of the dangers they faced with the Cyclops; Odysseus had come through for them before, getting them past (what he presents to have been) greater dangers than what they are facing now.

At the same time, I think that...

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