What happened to Odysseus and his men in the land of the Cyclops?

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus's curiosity about the Cyclops causes real problems for him and his men. They become trapped in Polyphemus' cave; the Cyclops eats 6 of Odysseus's men. Cleverly, however, Odysseus tells the giant his name is "Nobody" so that when he gets Polyphemus drunk and stabs his single eye, thus blinding him, the Cyclops's call to the other Cyclopses for help is disregarded because "Nobody" has harmed him. To escape the cave, Odysseus and his men hide under the Cyclops's wooly sheep; looking for the intruders, the giant feels only the top of each animal when he rolls back the huge stone blocking the entrance and releases his sheep.

Once back at his ship, Odysseus could have easily sailed away unscathed, but his pride interferes, and he tells Polyphemus his real name and even where he lives so the giant will know who has blinded him. Then the Cyclops calls on his father Poseidon to punish Odysseus, and the god of the sea makes Odysseus's home very difficult. The hero's unrestrained curiosity, lack of prudence, and overweening pride cause many problems on this island. Slowly Odysseus will learn from his mistakes.