The Odyssey by Homer

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Why was Poseidon angry at Odysseus?  

Quick Answer

Mainly, Poseidon hates Odysseus for blinding Polyphemus, who is Poseidon's son. Other reasons include their support for opposing sides in the Trojan war, Poseidon siding with the Trojans and Odysseus with the Greeks. The relationship between Odysseus and Athena may have also fueled Poseidon's anger, as Poseidon is rivals with Athena. 


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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Odysseus made the huge mistake of blinding the Cyclops Polyphemus, son of the sea-god Poseidon. Polyphemus told Odysseus who his father was, but Odysseus didn't believe him. So not only did he put the giant's single eye out—he also taunted him cruelly as he left the island and foolishly revealed his identity for good measure. Polyphemus cries out to his father for revenge, and Poseidon obliges, regularly intervening to ensure that Odysseus' journey home is as long, hard, and as dangerous as possible.

Poseidon's animus towards Odysseus is also related to the fact that the other gods's decision to allow Odysseus to leave the island Ogygia—where he'd spent seven years with the gorgeous sea-nymph, Calypso—was made while the sea-god was accepting a sacrifice in Ethiopia. Feeling sidelined and disrespected by the other gods, Poseidon makes his anger felt in no uncertain terms. Not long after Odysseus sets sail from Ogygia, Poseidon whips up a violent storm that destroys the hero's ship and almost drags him to his death beneath the sea.

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Odysseus first aroused the ire of Poseidon after he and his crew came to rest on an island inhabited by Polyphemus, a cyclops. Polyphemus was extremely displeased by the arrival of Odysseus and proceeded to eat some of the crew. Naturally, this upset Odysseus, and he and his remaining crew then tricked and blinded the cyclops in order to escape. Unfortunately, they did not know that Polyphemus was the son of Poseidon, the sea god. The cyclops called upon his father to wreak vengeance on Odysseus for maiming him.

Odysseus also revealed his name to the cyclops, which meant that Poseidon knew the identity of the man he wanted to target with his anger.

Poseidon may have felt generally unreceptive to Odysseus because of his attachment to Poseidon's rival, Athena, but it is the cyclops incident that really makes Poseidon angry with Odysseus personally. 

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Gracie O'Hara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Poseidon was angry at Odysseus for three reasons. First, Poseidon supported the Trojans in the Trojan war and Odysseus was a member of the Greek forces that defeated the Trojans. Second, the goddess Athena was the main patron of Odysseus and she was a rival to Poseidon, having beaten him in the contest to be the patron deity of Athens. Third, and most important, the Cyclops Polyphemus was the son of Poseidon. In book 9 of the Odyssey, Odysseus and his men blind Polyphemus. Because Poseidon is god of the sea, offending him caused numerous delays in Odysseus’ sea voyage home.

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kgod33 | Student

i hate you all thats why hahahahahaha stupid now what

bbgoo | Student

Poseidon was angry at Odysseus because he blinded his son, Polyphemus and because he supported the trojans in he trojan War

pinkytune123 | Student

You can find your answer in part of Zeus's speech -

"That Neptune is still furious with Ulysses for having blinded an eye of Polyphemus - the king of the Cyclopes. Polyphemus is son to Neptune by the nymph Thoosa, daughter to the sea-king Phorcys; therefore though he will not kill Ulysses outright, he torments him by preventing him from getting home. Still, let us lay our heads together and see how we can help him to return; Neptune will then be pacified, for if we are all of a mind he can hardly stand out against us.

tcarter1234 | Student

Odysseus angered Poseidon, the god of the sea, when he blinded Polyphemus, the Cyclops, who is Poseidon's son. Odysseus and his men escape from Polyphemus' island after cleverly hiding themselves under the Cyclops' sheep to leave his cave. While inside the cave, Odysseus told the Cyclops that his name was "Nobody," but as they're leaving the island, Odysseus cannot resist the temptation to brag. He yells his real name so that Polyphemus will know who managed to trick him. In response, the Cyclops prays to Poseidon and asks him to destroy Odysseus' ship. If Poseidon won't do that, Polyphemus then requests that the sea god delay Odysseus' return home for many years, so that he comes home "a broken man--all shipmates lost, alone in a stranger's ship and find a world of pain at home." Poseidon hears his prayer and makes trouble for Odysseus for many years.

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