Odysseus Escaping from the Cave of Polyphemos
is the image on a wide mouth black-figure krater with two columnlike handles.
Idealism becomes a calculation rather than an instinct such as characteristically beguiles Odysseus's better judgment, notoriously in the conflicts with Polyphemos
and Scylla (see, for example, Odyssey IX.
It is no accident that the Cyclops Polyphemos
whom Odysseus encounters is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea and of earthquakes, while Odysseus himself is protected by Athena, goddess of wisdom and of civilization.
Odysseus and his men seek food in the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemos
while he is away, feasting on cheese and milk.
Odysseus, the most intelligent of Greek heroes, stops himself in Polyphemos
's cave because he can run one scenario forward and see that if he kills Polyphemos
then they will all be trapped behind the boulder only the Cyclops can move.
Daniel Peretti applies folk-tale analysis tools to the climactic Mount Doom scene of The Lord of the Rings, finding intriguing roots in the "ogre blinded" motif most familiar to readers from the Polyphemos
episode of The Odyssey.
Odysseus only truly begins this arduous journey to self realization after he commits hubris in Book 9, when he transgresses the code of hospitality and then vaunts over the blinded Polyphemos
9 What an excellent charm for the love-lorn Polyphemos