The Cyclops is a one-eyed mythological creature in Homer’s Odyssey. He is an uncivilized, brutal, and rude giant living in a cave. The Cyclops does not adhere to any rules or traditions to which the Greeks are accustomed. He represents a creature with a primitive mindset and barbaric habits.
In ancient Greek mythology, the cyclops are portrayed as cruel giants. One of the cyclops described in Homer’s Odyssey is Polyphemus. One of its dramatic episodes in book nine involves Polyphemus. He plays an essential role in the poem. During the journey back home, king Odysseus landed with his companions on the island of Cyclops. They ended up in a cave, the dwelling of Polyphemus. As the Cyclops discovers the invaders, he devours some men. Then, he captures the others. Throughout this episode, the reader learns about Cyclops’ barbarity and cruelty.
The world of the Cyclops in Odyssey lacks civilization and hospitality. In the poem, the concept of civilization appears to be necessary. The author indicates its presence in certain people. He points whether they have any rules of hospitality. The Cyclops shows no compassion to his guests. Thus, the reader can conclude that the creature’s ideas of life are simplistic. Polyphemus farms sheep and collects milk, cheese, and fruit. This can sound rather idyllic. However, he is hostile to any stranger and attacks without hesitating.
Considering the Cyclops’ strength and lack of wit, Odysseus realizes how dangerous he is to his crew. Nevertheless, Odysseus does not use Polyphemus’ strong points against him. The hero refrains from killing the sleeping Cyclops. Instead, the King of Ithaca takes advantage of the caveman’s ignorance. He makes him drink wine and then blinds his only eye with fire. In doing so, Odysseus enables his men to leave the cave unnoticed by the giant.
The ease with which Odysseus tricks Polyphemus shows how witless the Cyclops is. The king is afraid to reveal his real name to the giant. Instead, Odysseus tells a lie to the Cyclops. He introduces himself as “Nobody.” So, when Polyphemus is blinded, he will say to his brothers that “Nobody” blinded him. The creature does not see the trick and frees them from the revenge of other cyclops.
Despite the Cyclops’ anger, he eventually invites Odysseus back to the island. Such a change in attitude is due to the giant’s fear of worse consequences if he does not accept his fate. Therefore, Cyclops tries to follow the Greek traditions of hospitality. He wants to offer food and shelter. It shows how Polyphemus becomes more open to the idea of improving his primal customs.
To sum up, the Cyclops portrayed in Homer’s Odyssey is an embodiment of pure physical strength, barbarism, and lack of wit. He lives a simple life. Some of his behaviors are primitive and uncivilized toward his guests. Polyphemus intends to eat the men of Odysseus. However, the cunning king of Ithaca tricks him. As the story develops, Polyphemus accepts his fate. Later, attempts to befriend Odysseus to avoid more harm in the future.