What is one example of Odysseus, from The Odyssey, showing vice as a character flaw?

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mando002 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus, being the Greek hero that he is, has a lot of pride, or hubris. This excess of hubris is his worst vice and is shown in the scene with Polyphemus the cyclops in Book 9, The One-eyed Giant's Cave. First, when the men raid the cyclops' cave, they want to take the cheese and leave, yet Odysseus wanted to stay to "see what gifts he'd give" (218) based on the Greek value of hospitality. The Greeks valued guests, because they believed that the guests could be gods in disguise and would treat them accordingly. Therefore Odysseus was expecting great things from the inhabitor of the cave. Little did he know that the only gift he would receive would be the death of many of his men.

Upon fleeing Polyphemus and his cave, Odysseus' hubris returns in the form of gloating. Once he is safely in his ship and sailing away, he shouts out to Polyphemus "Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye, Laertes' son who makes his home in Ithaca!" (227) Odysseus is so specific with his epithets, that there can be no mistaking that it could have been a different Odysseus. Polyphemus, who also happened to be a son of Poseidon, called out to his father to avenge him, making this another reason for Poseidon to curse Odysseus and his men. This is all according the Robert Fagles translation.

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The Odyssey

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