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Story Summary: Return From Troy, Episode 3

On this page we have split the telling of this episode into its two main sections and provided a summary of each.

Exchange of gifts (4:30)

Odysseus is awake all night trying to plan an escape. The next morning the Cyclops leaves the cave, takes his animals and blocks the entrance. Odysseus sharpens a tree trunk stake in readiness. The Cyclops returns and Odysseus gives him strong wine. When asked his name Odysseus says that his name is Nobody. Drunk, the Cyclops falls into a deep sleep and is then blinded when the white-hot point of the tree trunk is plunged into his one eye. He screams out for help but the other Cyclopes don’t come to his rescue because he cries that Nobody has blinded him.

Cursed (5:22)

During the night the Cyclops tries to find the men by feeling for them in the dark, but they stay hidden. The next day the sheep and goats leave the cave as usual. The Cyclops feels them as they pass by to check that the men are not escaping. Odysseus has used his cunning and the sheep are tied together in groups of three with the men underneath. The Cyclops cannot feel them so they escape. They make their way to the shore where Polyphemus (the Cyclops), realising he has been tricked, hurls the boulder at them and only just misses. Odysseus, triumphant, cannot resist boasting and shouts out his real name. Polyphemus calls upon Poseidon, the sea god, to take his revenge upon Odysseus.

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