38 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 422

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Character Analysis


Odysseus is a Greek hero and the king of the rocky island of Ithaca. He is one of the warriors who fought in the Trojan War. An important figure in the Homeric epics, the Iliad and Odyssey, Odysseus appears in Euripides’s Cyclops in a more parodic context. Euripides’s Odysseus is essentially the same as the character known from Homer: cunning, level-headed, sometimes arrogant. Yet the seriousness of the character is undercut by the presence of the fun-loving, wild, and childlike satyrs.

Euripides’s Odysseus, like Homer’s, is bent on returning home to Ithaca. He is a practiced speaker, using deceit to escape from the Cyclops’ cave, though his lies are more deliberate and less craven than those of Silenus because Odysseus is much braver than the satyrs who cower before the Cyclops and abandon Odysseus when it is time to blind the monster.

Odysseus makes a show of piety, making three prayers to the gods over the course of the play, but the tone of the prayers reveals his hubristic assumption that as Athena’s favorite, he will always come out on top: In his invocations, Odysseus threatens to disbelieve in the gods if they do not help him.