Empathy In The Odysseus

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Empathy in the odyssey We often think that we are a caring and kind person but when we become tired, stressed, or rushed all empathy we have can seem to vanish. We start to put our own needs first and others second. But what if we weren’t always like this? The odyssey is a perfect example of what happens when we don’t have empathy for others. In book 9 Odysseus and Polyphemus fail to understand each other leading to some unfortunate results. Polyphemus shows almost no empathy in his interaction with Odysseus but he shows even less, showing that without empathy pain is inevitable. Odysseus first displays a great lack of empathy for the cyclops when comparing how different his lifestyle is to Polyphemus’. For example when describing how the Polyphemus lives he says in disgust, “He was quite unlike any man who eats bread, more like some wooded peak in the high hills, standing out alone apart from the others.”(9.190-192) It is apparent from this quote that Odysseus does not respect those who work on their own. He thinks that Polyphemus is uncivilized and a lesser being just because his lifestyle is different from that of Odysseus’. In addition Odysseus distances himself from the cyclops by comparing their size, describing the cyclops as, “so huge he cannot possibly be man”. Rather than trying to find similarities between himself and the cyclops he obsesses on their differences. Based on the fact that Odysseus clearly does not even try to understand what the cyclops life is

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