The Odyssey Questions and Answers
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What is polytropos?

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Polytropos is a term which is specifically invoked in connection with Odysseus himself, in reference to his complex and multifaceted nature. Odysseus is a warrior and a military commander. He is cunning. He lies, manipulates and is skilled in the use of deception. You might say these represent two sides to his personality, except those two sides are so closely related to one another that they tend to melt together... after all, it was through deception that he was able to ensure triumph at Troy. Likewise, many of his greatest exploits in The Odyssey were triumphs of cunning rather than triumphs of physical strength. Indeed, as far as Greek heroes go, one might say that he is defined first and foremost by craftiness, more than any other trait. The term polytropos serves to express this complex and multifaceted quality that stands at the heart of Odysseus's own heroic character.

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Polytropos is a literary term meaning “many forms” or “many faces”. It is used to define the...

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