What are some examples of Odysseus manipulating his men and others in Homer's Odyssey?

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noahvox2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout Homer's Odyssey, the title character leads his men into various actions that prove detrimental to them.

In Odyssey 9, the hero takes some of his men to explore the land of the Cyclopes. Initially, when Odysseus' men enter the Cyclops' empty cave, his men want to take some of the monster's cheese and lambs and leave. Odysseus, however, refuses, a decision which costs six of his men their lives.

In Odyssey 12, costs six more men their lives when he chooses to sail closer to the Scylla than the Charybdis. Of course, Odysseus would have lost all of his men if he had sailed closer to the whirlpool, but he decided not to tell his men about the dangers of the Scylla "lest gripped by terror they left the oars to huddle in the hold" (A.S. Kline translation).

After Odysseus returns to Ithaca, he initially stays with his faithful swineherd Eumaeus. At night, as they prepare to sleep, Odysseus tests Eumaeus to see if he will give him some warm clothing by telling him a lengthy story about a night when he had been cold and a comrade had given him a cloak. Eumaeus, listening to the story, takes Odysseus' hint and responds:

With this he leapt up and made a bed for Odysseus nearer the fire, throwing sheep and goatskins over it. Then Odysseus lay down again, and the swineherd covered him with a big thick blanket, that he kept there for a dry covering after a fierce storm. (A.S. Kline translation)

Read the study guide:
The Odyssey

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