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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


by Homer

The Odyssey Book 9 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:


Quote 1

(Odysseus, in his tale:) “We are Achaians coming from Troy, beaten off our true course by winds from every direction across the great gulf of the open sea, making for home, by the wrong way, on the wrong courses. So we have come. So it has pleased Zeus to arrange it.”’ (9.259-262)

Here Odysseus tries to win sympathy from Polyphemos, the Cyclops, by pointing out that it wasn’t his fault that he came to his shore.


Quote 2

(Odysseus:) 'Next I told the rest of the men to cast lots, to find out which of them must endure with me to take up the great beam and spin it in the Cyclops' eye when sweet sleep had come over him. The ones drew it whom I myself would have wanted chosen, four men, and I myself was the fifth, and allotted with them.' (9.331-335)

How convenient: Odysseus wants four men to draw the short straws, and those four men just so happen to draw the short straws (or whatever they're using to cast lots). It seems like fate is on Odysseus's side.

Polyphemos > Poseidon

Quote 3

(Polyphemos, in Odysseus’s tale:) ‘“Hear me, Poseidon who circle the earth, dark-haired. If truly I am your son, and you acknowledge yourself as my father, grant that Odysseus, sacker of cities, son of Laertes, who makes his home in Ithaka, may never reach that home; but if it is decided that he shall see his own people, and come home to his strong-founded house and to his own country, let him come late, in bad case, with the loss of all his companions, in someone else’s ship, and find troubles in his household.” ‘So he spoke in prayer, and the dark-haired god heard him.’ (9.528-536)

Wounded Polyphemos invokes his father Poseidon as well as Fate to his aid in cursing Odysseus. This is excellent evidence that notions of fate and free will are not mutually exclusive. Odysseus chooses to blind the Cyclops and to reveal his name, therefore it is his fate to suffer at sea. His pride, not his destiny, determines the following course of events.

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