Abstract

When Odysseus tells the Phaeacians his story of Polyphemus in Odyssey 9, he sets his account of violated hospitality within the framework of a Homeric assembly. On a contextual level, the conflation of type-scenes furthers the hero's mission of self-aggrandizement. Consistent with the poetics of "traditional referentiality," in which derogatory comments on the Ithacan's physique invoke his compensatory prowess as an assembly speaker, Odysseus responds to Euryalus'mocking of his appearance (Od. 8.158-64) with an account of himself as towering over the Cyclops in a would-be assembly. On a poetic level, the same conflation serves narrative ends of the Odyssey-poet that transcend those of his hero. To the external audience, the Cyclopes who convene outside the cave only to disperse recall the assembled Ithacans of Book 2, who disband without helping Telemachus. The poet establishes an "Ithacans as Cyclopes" analogy in which Ithacans emerge as monstrously indifferent to the suitors' violation of xeneia. Invading Polyphemus' cave, furthermore, Odysseus displays distinctly Ithacan behaviors and incurs not only the wrath of Poseidon but also the punishing justice of Zeus Xenios.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 1-44
Launched on MUSE
2008-10-02
Open Access
No
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