Is there an example of when someone in the Odyssey is intelligent but misuses it? Like when Eurylockhos was intelligent but decided to consume the cattle from the Greek god Helios?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Book 9 of Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus recounts his adventure to the land of the Cyclopes. While there, he and twelve of his men were imprisoned by Polyphemus the cyclops (who ate two of them and was saving the rest for later). Odysseus used his intelligence and cunning to blind the cyclops without arousing the suspicion of Polyphemus' neighbors; he told Polyphemus his name was "Nobody," which caused Polyphemus to yell: "Nobody is killing me!"

Odysseus later used his intelligence to scheme an escape from the cyclops' cave. Despite escaping without Polyphemus noticing, Odysseus wanted to brag about his intelligent plan; he wanted the cyclops to know whose cunning had bested him. Odysseus' men tried to prevent him from taunting Polyphemus, but he eventually gave into the temptation and told Polyphemus his real name:

Cyclops, if any mortal man ever asks you who it was that inflicted upon your eye this shameful binding, tell him that you were blinded by Odysseus, sacker of cities (Book 9, lines 503-504).

Unfortunately for Odysseus, Polyphemus had a powerful father: the sea-god Poseidon. Once Polyphemus told Poseidon how Odysseus had hurt him, the god promised to seek vengeance.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial