The Odyssey by Homer

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What foolish blunder does Odysseus commit as he leaves the Cyclops' island in The Odyssey by Homer?

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Odysseus is the wandering hero in Homer's Odyssey. In so many ways, Odysseus is such a smart man, but sometimes he is just a little too smart (or smart-aleck) for his own good. His leave-taking from the Cyclops is one of those times.

Odysseus and some of his men find the cave of Polyphemus; when they discover that the Cyclops is away, his men try to convince Odysseus to take some cattle and cheese and leave before the giant returns. Odysseus' first act of foolishness is to ignore them; he insists on waiting for Polyphemus and getting a gift from this host (though Odysseus was certainly not a welcome or invited guest).

Once Polyphemus returns, Odysseus and his men are trapped, and Odysseus must be crafty and cunning to get himself and his men out of this predicament. Though he loses a few men in the process, Odysseus does manage to trick Polyphemus and escape. First he manages to get the giant man drunk enough to pass out; before he does, Polyphemus asks Odysseus his name.

The adventurer is quite cunning and gives the giant a wrong name:

‘Cyclops, you asked about my famous name.
I’ll tell you. Then you can offer me a gift,
as your guest. My name is Nobody.
My father and mother, all my other friends—
they call me Nobody.’

Now they have a giant man too drunk to remove the giant boulder from the cave, something they cannot do on their own; so they poke him in his only eye with a burning stick until he wakes in a rage and moves the boulder, hoping to catch the enemies he can no longer see. Of course Polyphemus is shouting, but when his fellow Cyclopes ask him who is bothering him, Polyphemus tells them "Nobody" is bothering him, so no one comes to help him. 

(The entire section contains 593 words.)

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