Which Excerpt from Part 2 of The Odyssey Best Support the Conclusion that Odysseus Is Clever?

Updated 28 August, 2023
A significant excerpt from Part 2 of "The Odyssey" that highlights Odysseus' cleverness is when he reveals his true identity to the Cyclops Polyphemus by stating, "Nobody—that’s my name. Nobody they call me." This cunning tactic allows Odysseus to escape after blinding Polyphemus.
Detailed answer:

In Part 2 of "The Odyssey," Odysseus displays his remarkable cleverness through a pivotal scene involving the Cyclops Polyphemus. This excerpt emphasizes his shrewdness:

"When the cave man heard me cry out, he came lumbering up and said, 'Nobody’s killing you now by violence, no, it’s Nobody—No, that’s your name, Nobody. I’ll eat Nobody last of all his friends.' With that, he let his hands fall, and out he sprawled in the dust."

In this passage, Odysseus employs a cunning trick to outwit Polyphemus. When asked for his name, Odysseus replies, "Nobody," a clever play on words. This deceptive response becomes crucial when Odysseus and his men blind Polyphemus and attempt to escape. When Polyphemus calls for help, he exclaims that "Nobody" is attacking him, leading the other Cyclopes to believe that he's unharmed.

Odysseus' use of wordplay not only demonstrates his quick thinking but also showcases his ability to strategize under pressure. This incident highlights his resourcefulness, a trait that becomes a defining aspect of his character throughout his journey.

Furthermore, this episode reflects Odysseus' wider character development. His cleverness, alongside his adaptability and ingenuity, serves as a central tool in his quest to return home. The encounter with Polyphemus foreshadows future challenges where Odysseus' intellect plays a pivotal role in overcoming obstacles.

In conclusion, the excerpt from Part 2 of "The Odyssey" in which Odysseus reveals his name as "Nobody" to outwit the Cyclops Polyphemus underscores Odysseus' remarkable cleverness. This clever play on words allows Odysseus and his men to escape a perilous situation. Odysseus' ability to think on his feet and devise unconventional solutions to challenges showcases his resourcefulness and strategic thinking, making him a quintessentially clever hero in ancient Greek literature.

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