Which postive and negative character traits does Odysseus demonstrate in his adventure with the Cyclops in the Odyssey?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Odysseus shows great cunning in dealing with the fearsome Cyclops Polyphemus. First of all, he's smart enough not to tell the Cyclops his real name, at least not until he's managed to escape from Polyphemus's island. Instead, he tells the lumbering giant that his name is Nobody. This means that when Odysseus puts out the Cyclops's eye with a burning stake and Polyphemus screams out in agonizing pain that "Nobody" has attacked him, the other giants on the island don't think there's anything wrong.

Once Odysseus has blinded the Cyclops, he hits upon the bright idea of escaping with his men by clinging to the bellies of Polyphemus' sheep. This way, the Cyclops won't be able to reach down and grab them as they make their escape.

Unfortunately, Odysseus blots his copy-book somewhat by arrogantly taunting the stricken Polyphemus as he escapes from the island. For added stupidity, he even reveals his real name. Polyphemus, son of the sea-god Poseidon, cries out to his father to exact a terrible...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 663 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team