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Odysseus is losing control of his men. His men make four major mistakes in this book: 1) they open the bag of wind from Aeolus; 2) they are nearly eaten by cannibals; 3) they are turned into animals by Circe; 4) Elpenor gets drunk and dies.
One two separate occasions, Odysseus must receive help from the gods. First, he receives a bag of wind from Aeolus. Second, he receives a magical herb from Hermes to conquer Circe's spell.
Odysseus clearly is not communicating well with his men; otherwise, they would not have opened the bag of wind. They clearly are suffering from the hubris (arrogance) that has plagued Odysseus in the past. Odysseus, however, is learning to ask for and accept help from the gods. The men are not asking for and accepting help from their leader, Odysseus.
Odysseus should have told his crew what was in the bag, lest they think it treasure and open it. He should have not let the crew ravage the island of the Laestrygonians and Circe. Finally, he should not have let his men drink to a stupor. Lastly, Odysseus should have honored the dead Elpenor by burying him. Later in Hades Elpenor will ask Odysseus to grant him this favor, to atone for his mistake.
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