In what way does the Book 9 of The Odyssey, about the Cyclops and Odysseus, express a form of x-ray vision or a very clear and sharp view?  

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is irony in the fact that you refer to a "clear or sharp view" with regard to this story, as the Cyclopes is blinded by Odysseus in Homer's The Odyssey, Book Nine.

Looking at this story as an x-ray provides a metaphor for our perceptions of the hero in the story, as well as the other characters involved. Odysseus is a peerless warrior, who fought in the Trojan War for ten years. On his way home, this honorable man who is a favorite of the goddess Athena, lands on the island of the Cyclopes. Here Odysseus and some of his men are held captive by Polyphemus (a cyclops), who is the son of Poseidon. Polyphemus eats some of Odysseus' men before they are able to escape. In a desperate plan to free themselves from the Cyclops' captivity, Odysseus and his men get the giant drunk and blind him so he cannot see. Eventually they escape while tied beneath rams and sheep that belong to the giant. As Polyphemus only feels the tops of the animals as they pass by him, the men hidden on the underside of the animals are able to get away.

When Odysseus and the other captives make their way onto their ship, Polyphemus attempts to sink their vessel by throwing large boulders at it. Odysseus, uncharacteristic of the valiant and honorable behavior he is generally known for, starts to taunt the now-blind giant.

And they make their getaway, they leave a greatly insulted cyclops behind. Polyphemus calls on his father Poseidon to curse Odysseus for his behavior, and as a punishment, Odysseus' voyage home ends up taking a total of ten years, so that he is virtually gone from home for twenty years.

In this story, we are able to see beneath the exterior of the brave hero to the child that exists beneath the surface: the poor sport who is unable to resist teasing the loser. We see a god, Poseidon, who acts more like a doting human father than a god in that he wants his son's tormentor to be punished without holding his own son accountable for his behavior: eating several of Odysseus' men without provocation. Finally, Polyphemus, though the son of a god, is nothing more than a brute and spoiled child. He has obviously not inherited any god-like tendencies, but acts like a child having a tantrum when he is thwarted and punished for his horrible behavior.

This tale holds the characters of the story up to the light so that the reader may more clearly see who they are within, rather those how they appear on the outside.