This is the essay for the 3rd week of the 9th Grade Tom Woods Homeschool. It’s an answer to two questions about them Cyclopes. (I didn’t spell it wrong, this is the plural of Cyclops.)
1. Would you describe the Cyclops as having a civilization? Why or why not?
To answer the first question, no the Cyclops doesn’t have a civilization. They aren’t organized enough, they are limited to one island, so you can’t really call one small island a civilization. The weird thing is that the Cyclops has discovered taming animals, for example, sheep, but they haven’t discovered agriculture yet. They have built very little only, plates, tables, and chairs, cabinets sheep pens, etc. Only goods that they put in their houses or close to their homes like sheep pens, nothing farther. They haven’t built any infrastructure, because their “houses” are actually just caves. In the Cyclops families, there is one lord, who is the master of that family. They don’t care for anybody outside of their family, not even their close neighbors. Cyclops don’t have any other type of organization, no laws, no government, nothing to keep them in check. The Cyclops diet consisted of raw wheat, barley, cheese, and sheep. They drank milk which they got from goats and wine, which was made from grapes.
The problem is that the Cyclops didn’t expand much farther than this, either by choice or by accident. There was a fertile island with a lot of wildlife close to the land of the Cyclops. The Cyclops didn’t bother building even some boats to get over to the island. Even as a partially settled people (Mostly because they were stuck on one island.), the grapes, wheat and barley they ate had much better quality on the other island. On the other island, there were also many more sheep that the Cyclops could tame. If the Cyclops couldn’t even put in the smallest of efforts, to get off the island for something better, they could definitely not be called a Civilization.
2. What happens between the Cyclops and Odysseus and his men? How does the story end?
Ulysses lands at the island that is nearby to the island of the Cyclops, he leaves behind all, but one ship. He sails that ship to the island of the Cyclops. He takes 12 of his braves men with him to one of the Cyclops houses, the rest he leaves behind on the ship. Ulysses goes to one of the caves of the Cyclops, this cave was owned by a Cyclops named Polyphemus. His crew just wanted to take the cheese, some sheep and go back to the ship, but Ulysses wanted to meet the Cyclops instead. This turned out to be a bad idea.
When Polyphemus came home he milked the goats and noticed Ulysses and his men hiding. Questioned who they were and Ulysses told him that they were coming back from a war in Troy, but that they had gone wildly off course. He also told Polyphemus, that the Cyclops should show them some hospitality because he was the son of Poseidon. Polyphemus didn’t like this and in response ate two of Ulysses men. Then the Cyclops went to sleep and woke up at dawn, he ate two more of Ulysses men. Then he went to shepherd the sheep and goats. Ulysses had to figure out a way to escape. Luckily Ulysses had a plan. He and his men shaved off a bit of Polyphemus’s club, they made it sharp and pointy. Then they put it in the flames for a short while to harden it.
The next time Polyphemus came back from shepherding his sheep and goats, Ulysses gave the Cyclops some wine to drink, since they were quests. Polyphemus accepted and drunk three bowls of it since he found it better than the wine he had on his own island. Polyphemus had promised Ulysses a present if he told him his name. Only Ulysses lied and said his name was Noman. Because Polyphemus was drunk he didn’t question how weird his name was. He told Ulysses that the present was that he would eat first all of his comrades and eat Ulysses last. When Ulysses noticed Polyphemus’s drunkness, he heated the sharp wooden stick even more and stabbed it into the Cyclops eye. Polyphemus screamed in pain and anger. This alerted the rest of the Cyclops. They asked Polyphemus, “Surely no man is trying to kill you by fraud or by force?” To this Polyphemus answered, “Noman is killing me by force!” and “Noman is killing me by fraud!” The other Cyclops were tricked by this and just thought that Polyphemus was very sick. Polyphemus foolishly opened the door to and then stretched his arms to make sure nobody got past him if anyone would try stealing his sheep.
Then Ulysses put his escape plan into action. He tied sheep together into bundles of three then, a man would hang under the sheep and he wouldn’t be able to be spotted. For himself, he hanged on the belly of one big black ram where the ram’s fleece would cover him completely. Then Polyphemus let the sheep and goats out, unknowingly also letting his prisoners go free as well. When they were a safe distance from Polyphemus’s cave they met the rest of the ship’s crew at the beach and board the sheep on the ship. They set sail after Ulysses insults Polyphemus a few times and narrowly escaping getting hit by a rock thrown by the Cyclops. When they reach the other island where the rest of the ships are as they divide the sheep equally and have a great feast before they set sail.