Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer

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Please provide two quotes from book 9 of Homer's Odyssey illustrating how Odysseus shows intelligence.

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The protagonist of Homer's The Odyssey is Odysseus. Odysseus's heroic ability (or most important characteristic) is his great intelligence. His intelligence proves the saying "brains [intelligence] over brawn [physical strength]." 

Book nine offers numerous examples which highlight Odysseus' intelligence. In this book, Odysseus is telling the Phaeacians the story of his travels. 

-When Odysseus finds his ship in the land of the Lotus-Eaters, "three of [his] tasted it and all they wanted was more." Odysseus, knowing that the men would not desire home if the lotus kept its control over them, tied the men to a pole and set sail away from the lands. 

-Another quote which illustrates Odysseus' intelligence is found when he is describing his trials in the cave of the cyclops: "But I realized that only he could unstopper the mouth of the cave." Odysseus realizes that he cannot kill the cyclops (Polyphemus); instead, he must outwit the cyclops in order to get him to move the bolder which blocks the exit. 

-As the other cyclops in the area come to find out what Polyphemus is screaming about, the cyclops screams that Nobody is hurting him. Nobody is the name Odysseus gave to the cyclops ('My name is Nobody,' I told him. 'It's Nobody!' bellowed Polyphemus.). The other cyclops believe that nothing is really wrong. 

-Lastly, Odysseus, needing to hide from the blinded cyclops, creates a plan where his men will hide under three sheep tied together. "When it was time to let them out to pasture, the Cyclops ran his hands over their backs but did not notice the men underneath." 

All of these quotes illustrate the great intelligence of Odysseus--a trait he could not have survived without. 

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