Odysseus Cyclops Essay

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Why not take these cheeses, get them stowed, come back, throw open all the pens, and make a run for it?… How sound that was (Lines 166-171) This quote implies that Odysseus even knew that the best idea would be to leave quietly and discreetly. He already had everything he needed, and his greedy curiosity would prove to be the downfall of several of his men. The final reason Odysseus was in the wrong for choosing to remain in that forsaken cave, was the fact that he is supposed to be a leader. Leaders are people who make hard decisions and sacrifice things for the safety of his men, and the accomplishment of his goals. Odysseus did neither of those things on the island. As he states I refused. I wished to see the caveman, what he had to offer- no pretty sight, it turned out, for my friends. As stated earlier, Odysseus knew with 100% certainty that he had everything he could possibly need from this island, and had acquired it pretty easily. There was no need to risk everything, especially at the cost of men and mission.

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One could argue that yes, it is by custom that all hosts treat their guests with respect and kindness, often accompanied by a gift. Odysseus could have reasonably believed that the Cyclops would have felt obligated to help them. He even said, here we stand, beholden for your help, or any gifts you give as a custom is to honor strangers (Line 211-213) His reasoning here is likely that Polyphemus could help him even further. However, this is no reason at all to justify staying in the cave. As stated earlier, Odysseus is a leader of men. Leaders, especially in times of war and struggle, are rational, smart people that are able to judge risks and decide what would be the best for their men. It doesn’t take a genius to make a decision to leave that cave. The crew had everything they needed, had taken little time, and had lost nothing. Why risk everything for a gift that may not even exist? The answer; you don’t. Odysseus was certainly in the wrong for his actions on the island, especially the one to stay in the cave. At this point in The Odyssey, it is safe to say that his character needs to grow if he is to make it home to Ithaca.

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