Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer
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Foreshadowing In The Odyssey

In The Odyssey, what are examples of foreshadowing that hint that Odysseus will have problems with the cyclops? 

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When Odysseus requests that the cyclops give him a gift which is required by the law of the gods, the cyclops refuses. Odysseus informs the cyclops that it is the law of Zeus who insists the host show hospitality to his guest. It is immediately obvious that Odysseus and his men are going to face danger from the cyclops. The cyclops is not going to treat Odysseus very kindly. This is a sign of foreshadowing, hinting that Odysseus is going to have problems from the cyclops. Odysseus's request for hospitality from the cyclops is met with rude rejection. The cyclops in turn eats Odysseus' men:

Scorning the gods, Polyphemus grasped two of Odysseus’ men and slammed their heads against the ground. He then proceeded to eat them whole.

The cyclops is not going to welcome Odysseus and his men. Instead he is going to eat them all if he gets the chance. The fact that he had two more men for breakfast foreshadows the danger that is to come:

When the Cyclops awakened in the morning, he ate two more men before taking his sheep to pasture, leaving the dreaded boulder behind to block the exit.

It is obvious that Odysseus and his men are in danger when the cyclops puts a boulder on the cave. This is the foreshadowing or hinting that the cyclops is going to keep Odysseus and his men held hostage. He is planning to have breakfast and dinner on Odysseus' men:

He devours two of Odysseus’s men on the spot and imprisons Odysseus and the rest in his cave for future meals.

No doubt, Odysseus and his men are in trouble. They are going to be eaten by the cyclops. Odysseus and his men were treated with a lack of respect. The cyclops showed no hospitality. Odysseus begins to realize that he will have to devise a plan to escape the cave of the cyclops. He has no choice but to blind the cyclops. 

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