The Cyclops Essay

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Euripides II: The Cyclops “The Cyclops” is a satyr play by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides, the only complete satyr play that has survived from ancient Greece. It is a comical burlesque-like play on the story of Odysseus’ capture by and escape from the one-eyed giant Cyclops, Polyphemus. The discordant elements of the brave, adventurous and resourceful warrior Odysseus, the gross and brutal Cyclops, the drunken Silenus and the cowardly and licentious satyrs are combined by Euripides with rare skill into a work of beauty. On the voyage home from the Trojan War, Odysseus and his crew have lost their way and make a stop at Mount Aetna in Sicily, which is inhabited by the race of primitive one-eyed giants known as the Cyclops. They encounter the satyrs, who are the chorus and their drunken father Silenus, who has been enslaved by a Cyclops. Odysseus offers to trade wine to Silenus in return for food for his hungry crew. Being a servant of Dionysus, Silenus cannot resist obtaining the wine despite the fact that the food is not his to trade. When the Cyclops arrives, Silenus is quick to accuse Odysseus of stealing the food, swearing on all the gods and the satyrs' lives that he is telling the truth. His son, a younger and more modern Satyr, tries to tell the truth to the Cyclops in an attempt to help Odysseus. After an argument, the Cyclops brings Odysseus and his crew inside his cave and eats some of them. Odysseus manages to sneak out and is stunned by what he has witnessed. He thinks of a scheme to get the Cyclops drunk and burn out his single eye with a giant poker after he has passed out from inebriation. The Cyclops and Silenus drink together, while Silenus tries to hog the wine for himself. When the Cyclops is well and truly drunk, he says he is seeing gods and begins to call Silenus. He steals Silenus away to his cave implicating sexual activities, and

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