"'Stranger,' he grumbled back from his brutal heart, 'you must be a fool, stranger, or come from nowhere, telling me to fear the gods or avoid their wrath!  We Cyclops never blink at Zeus and...

"'Stranger,' he grumbled back from his brutal heart, 'you must be a fool, stranger, or come from nowhere, telling me to fear the gods or avoid their wrath!  We Cyclops never blink at Zeus and Zeus's shield of storm and thunder, or any other blessed god we've got more force by far."  What cultural value can be inferred from this passage?  

A. Monsters are stronger than the Greek gods.  
B. Humans are fools who choose to fight monsters.  
C. Enemies must be destroyed quickly and completely.  
D. The gods must be given proper respect and honor.

Expert Answers
favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A. Monsters are stronger than the Greek gods.

In this particular passage, it seems as though option A is the best answer.  Polyphemus, the Cyclops, believes himself to be stronger than even the most powerful of the Olympian gods.  Though he turns out to be wrong, Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, continues to believe that his race has the superior power.  Odysseus has referenced Zeus and Zeus's protection of travelers because Odysseus would expect to be treated with great hospitality. The ancient Greeks felt that there was, thus, a religious imperative to offer a hearty welcome, with food and lodging and even gifts, if the host could manage it (and Polyphemus certainly can).  Therefore, option A seems to best describe Polyphemus's feelings about his relative power compared to the gods.  However, elsewhere in the text and in Greek life, while monsters could do a great deal of damage, they were not believed to be stronger than the immortal gods.

Read the study guide:
The Odyssey

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question