How could Polyphemus have followed Odysseus to the shore after being blinded in Homer's Odyssey?

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thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Book IX of Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus blinds Polyphemus the Cyclops, son of Poseidon. After Odysseus and his men sneak out of the cave, hidden underneath the sheep, and the men return to the ship and push off from shore, Odysseus taunts Polyphemus. The Cyclops reacts as follows:

It made his heart more angry. [480]
He snapped off a huge chunk of mountain rock
and hurled it. The stone landed up ahead of us,
just by our ship’s dark prow.

This is puzzling on a literal level. One could imagine that since the cave is on the shore, Polyphemus was throwing rocks from the mouth of the cave. Also, Polyphemus would know the territory fairly well, and could easily stumble down in the direction of the shore and throw rocks in the general direction of the voice of Odysseus. That is why the sailors keep on telling Odysseus to be quite in order to make sure that Polyphemus cannot find them.

As an experiment, if you close your eyes and walk around your house, you will be able to locate many things and people – blind people can navigate a familiar area quite easily – it merely takes practice.

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mptbowl's profile pic

mptbowl | eNotes Newbie

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I probably couldn't make myself clear with only 150 characters. The thing is where does it mention that the cyclops only had one eye. I read the chapter twice and found no mention of it. The cyclops is part of my youth and it came as a disappointment to find the fact missing from the book   Good point about the crew telling odysseus to pipe down which i took as 'don't wind him up any further'. I thought maybe it wasn't in the translation I have. 

Maybe you could enlighten me on this

regards Michael

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