Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ask a Stupid Question...

Someone (possibly a Classical Lit student?) from Tennessee, clearly struggling with Homer's Odyssey, arrived here via Google with the search term "what does the kyklops do to the men he eats?" Umm, well... he eats them.
... [he]sprang up and put forth his hands upon my comrades. Two of them at once he seized and dashed to the earth like puppies, [290] and the brain flowed forth upon the ground and wetted the earth. Then he cut them limb from limb and made ready his supper, and ate them as a mountain-nurtured lion, leaving naught--ate the entrails, and the flesh, and the marrowy bones.
(Samuel Butler's translation. I prefer Lattimore's, but I don't have it nearby, and I can't be bothered to translate it myself.)

I hope you weren't planning a paper centered on this question. It seems a bit of a dead end. Focus instead on why Polyphemos ate Odysseus' companions (i.e. what clues does Homer give us regarding Polyphemos' character?). You should especially look at the punishment Odysseus exacts--was it just? If it wasn't, why not? If it was, why? And why was Odysseus punished for it? Look carefully at Odysseus' words when he first speaks to Polyphemos, and his words and manner as he's making his escape from the island.

Come back in a week and show me what you've got.

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