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Karnataka State Syllabus Class 10 English Supplementary Chapter 3 Ulysses and the Cyclops
Ulysses and the Cyclops Questions and Answers, Summary, Notes
Pre – Reading Activity:
Do you like adventure stories? Why? In pairs, share your reasons
Yes, adventure stories are wonderful, for many reasons. First, reading such stories satisfies our thirst for adventure without putting our lives in danger, i.e., they give us vicarious pleasure. Second, they are inspiring and stimulate us to engage in similar adventures, wherever possible. In this manner, they provoke us to rise above our limited conditions and have a little more enjoyment than before. Third, they fire our imagination.
Stories by Homer, R.L.Stevenson and others, and at the childhood level, the Hardy Boy series and Enid Blyton series thrill the minds of the readers and open up immense possibilities of life for them. It was probably these stories that inspired great movies like ‘Jurassic Park’ ‘The Millienium Man’, and many others. They might have also inspired many inventions too.
An adventure story like Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ can, along with providing an interesting story of exploration, cause the reader to. pause in life and think about the purpose and direction of his life. Since one of the purposes of reading is expanding the imagination along with developing the linguistic ability of the reader, adventure stories serve the purpose very well.
II. Comprehension Questions
Answer briefly the following questions
Who were Cyclops?
The cyclops were giant shepherds who lived on the steep heads of mountains in caves.
Pick any 5 details to show that they were not civilized.
The Cyclops neither sowed nor ploughed, but the earth untilled produced for them rich wheat and barley and grapes. They had neither bread nor wine, nor did they know the arts of cultivation, not cared to know them.
They lived each man to himself, without laws or government or anything like a state or kingdom. Their dwellings were in caves on the steep heads of mountains, every man’s household governed by his own caprice or not governed at all. They did not have any ships or boats, no trade or commerce or wish to visit other shores.
Why did Ulysses and his men enter the habitation of the Cyclop?
Ulysses, with Chosen party of twelve followers, landed, to explore what sort of men dwelt there, whether hospitable or friendly to strangers or altogether wild and savage.
How strong was the Greek wine?
The Greek wine was so strong that no one ever drank it without an infusion of twenty parts of water to one wine, yet the fragrance of it even then so delicious, that it would have vexed a man who smelled it to abstain from tasting it; but whoever tasted it, it was able to raise his courage to the height of heroic deeds.
How did Ulysses introduce himself and his group to the Cyclop?
Ulysses said that they came neither for plunder, nor business, but were Grecians, who had lost their way, returning from Troy. He added that they acknowledged him to be mightier than them, and hence prostrated themselves humbly before his feet.
What horrid response did the Cyclop give to Ulysses; request for hospitality?
The cyclops replied nothing, but gripping two of the nearest of Ulysses’ followers as if they had been no more than children, he dashed their brains out against the earth, and tore in pieces their limbs, and devoured them, yet warm and trembling, making a lion’s meal of them lapping the blood.
What prevented Ulysses from attacking the Cyclop with his sword?
When the Cyclop slept among his goats, Ulysses wanted to draw his sword and thrust it with all his might into the bosom of the sleeping monster; but wiser thought restrained him because he realized that he would need Polyphemus alive as only he could have removed the mass of stone which he had placed to guard the entrance.
How did Ulysses prove that “manly wisdom excels brutish force’?
Ulysses hatched a plot to incapacitate the Cyclop and escape from the cave alive. He chose a stake from among the wood which the Cyclop had piled up for firing, in length and thickness like a mast, which he sharpened, and hardened in the fire; and selected four men, and instructed them what they should do with his stake and made them perfect in their parts.
What ‘gift’ does the Cyclop offer Ulysses in return for the wine?
The Cyclop took the wine and drank it, and vehemently enjoyed the taste of wine, which was new to him, and swilled gain at the flagon, and entreated for more; and prayed Ulysses to tell him his name, that he might bestow a gift upon the man who had given him such brave liquor. When Ulysses says that this name is Noman, the Cyclop promises Ulysses that he will eat him after he has eaten all of Ulysses’ friends.
How do the brave Greeks blinded the Cyclop?
Ulysses waited for some time while the Cyclop lay insensible; and heartening up his men, they placed the sharp end of the stake in the fire till it was heated red-hot; and the four men with difficulty bored the sharp end of the huge stake, which they heated red-hot, right into the single eye of the drunken cannibal.
Why didn’t the fellow Cyclops help Polyphemus when he cried out for help?
When the fellow Cyclops came flocking from all parts to inquire what trouped Polyphemus, Polyphemus answered from within the cave that Noman had hurt him and Noman was with him in the cave. The other Cyclops thought that Polyphemus was alone in the cave ‘and no one had hurt him but he himself. So they went away, thinking that some disease troubled him.
How did Ulysses help his men escape from the cave?
Ulysses made knots of osier twigs upon which the Cyclop, commonly slept, with which he tied the fattest and fleeciest of the rams together, three in a rank; and under the middle ram he tied a man. Thus the man could escape from the cave along with the ram which was moving towards its accustomed pasture.
How did Ulysses himself escape from the cave?
Ulysses wrapped himself fast with both his hand in the rich wool of a ram, the fairest of the flock. As the sheep passed the doorway of the cave, the Cyclop who was sitting there at the threshold, felt the back of those fleecy wools, without realizing that they carried his enemies under them. When the last ram came with Ulysses under it, the Cyclop stopped the ram and felt it, and had his hand once in the hair of Ulysses, but did not recognize it.
How did Ulysses introduce himself to the Cyclop at the end of the story?
Ulysses introduced himself as ‘Ulysses, son of Laertes; he was called the King of Ithaca and a waster of cities’.
II. Do you remember any story from our own epics where the hero destroys a wicked giant? Narrate the story to the class.
The stories of Bhima killing Bakasura, or Shri Krishna killing Putini can be narrated.
Points to Remember:
1. This is an extract from ‘The Adventures of Ulysses’ by Charles Lamb.
2. While coming back from his victorious campaign of Troy. Ulysses is curious to know more about a particular island that they happen to see on the way.
3. With twelve followers and flagon full of wonderful Greek wine, Ulysses steps onto the island and enters a giant’s cave. There they wonder at the giant’s kitchen where goat and sheep flesh lay strewn on the floor, and their milk in troughs. With a deafening sound, the giant Cyclop, Polyphemus, comes back and throws down his heap of firewood and drives in the ewes into the cave. He places a massive rock at the entrance of the cave. After he has milked the ewes, he notices the Greek travelers.
4. When asked who they were, Ulysses says that they were Grecians and desired his hospitality. In return to that, the giant picks up two men, dashes their heads against the floor, tears up their limbs and eats them all. Then he drinks goat’s milk
and lies down to sleep.
5. Ulysses thinks of killing the giant in his sleep, and then realizing that only the giant could move aside the boulder at the entrance, he stops himself.
6. The next morning, the giant wakes up, eats up two more men. drinks milk and goes out, blocking the entrance. Ulysses lays out a plan to go out unharmed.
7. After the giant returns and eats up two more men, Ulysses gives the Greek wine to the giant. He likes it very much, asks for Ulysses’ name which he says is ‘Noman’ and promises Ulysses that he would kill him the last, and goes to sleep.
8. Ulysses and his followers heat a stake and pierce it into the single big eye of the Cyclop. Immediately, he wakes up, screaming in pain. Other Cyclops gather outside and enquire. Polyphemus replies that Noman has hurt him and is with him in the cave. The others understand that to mean that Polyphemus has hurt himself, and go back to their caves.
9. Polyphemus finds the entrance, and removing the boulder, sits there to check that no one goes out.
10. As it is dawn, the goats and sheep get ready to go out. Ulysses ties 3 sheep together and a man beneath them. He himself hangs on to a fat sheep.
11. Polyphemus runs his hand over the backs of all sheep and goats, but fails to realize that there were men beneath them.
12. After coming out of the cave, and safe in their ship, Ulysses shouts out to Polyphemus that he was wrong to eat up his guests. In return, Polyphemus throws a huge rock towards their ship. Ulysses then shouts out that he is Ulysses, son of Laertes, and was the King of Ithaca, a waster of cities. Then they all go on their way to Greece.
Ulysses and the Cyclops by Charles Lamb About the Author:
Charles Lamb (1775-1834) born in London was a great essayist (Essays of Elia), a poet and a much-loved storyteller. He, with his sister Mary Ann Lamb, wrote “Tales from Shakespeare” designed to make Shakespeare familiar to the young. His “Adventures of Ulysses” from which ‘Ulysses and the Cyclops’ is an extract was another successful attempt aimed at familiarising the Greek epic “The Odyssey” to the young.
Ulysses and the Cyclops summary in English
’Ulysses and the Cyclops’ is an extract from the book ‘Adventures of Ulysses’ by Charles Lamb. The book familiarizes Homer’s Greek epic ‘The Odyssey’.
Ulysses, while coming back from his victorious campaign at Troy, is curious to see the land of the Cyclops, the giant shepherds. He wanted to know whether they were friendly and hospitable or wild and savage. With twelve of his followers, he landed on the island, taking along him a flagon full of magnificent Greek wine.
They entered a huge cave and saw the giant’s kitchen with the flesh of innumerable goats and sheep strewn everywhere, and goat-milk in troughs. As they were looking at everything with curiosity, they heard a loud deafening noise. Hiding themselves as well as they could, they saw the largest and savagest Cyclop enter the cave along with his flock that gave milk. The other animals he left outside and sealed the cave with a massive rock. Seeing some of Ulysses’ men, he asked them who they were.’ Only Ulysses was bold enough to answer the giant, and he said that they were Grecians returning home from Troy, and now awaited his hospitality.
The hospitable act that the giant immediately does it to take two men, dash their brains out against the earth, tear their bodies into pieces, and devour them. Then he drinks goat’s milk and goes to sleep. As he is sleeping, Ulysses wants to kill him with his sword, but later realizes that only the giant can move the massive rock blocking the entrance of the cave. The Cyclop eats two more men the next morning and goes away, blocking the entrance. Ulysses, realising that there was no sane way of going out alive, plots along, with his followers to attack the giant.
Whe the Cyclop returns that evening and eats two more men, Ulysses offers him a bowl of Greek wine. The Cyclop drinks it, and very pleased, asks for Ulysses’ name. Ulysses very cunningly replies that it is Noman. Satisfied, the giant promises that he will kill Ulysses the last. When the giant falls asleep, Ulysses and his friends, as planned, heat the stake and pierce it into the single eye of the Cyclop. The giant wakes up and roars in great pain. The other Cyclops come running and ask about the reason for his shouting.
Polyphemus the giant cyclop replies that Noman has hurt him and is with him in the cave. The others understand this to mean that Polyphemus has hurt himself and is all alone in the cave. They go away. Polyphemus roams around in the cave, and locating the stone at the entrance, pushes it away and sits at the threshold. As it is dawn, the sheep get ready to go out. Ulysses ties three rams together and his own man beneath the middle one. Then he hangs on to the fattest sheep. As the sheep pass through the entrance, the Cyclop runs his hand over the sheep to check whether any men are escaping, sitting on them.
He once touches Ulysses’ hair, but is unable to catch him or his followers. When Ulysses and his friends, along with the rams, reach their ship at sea, Ulysses cries out to the Cyclop that the giant did a wrong thing by eating up his guests. To that, the Cyclop replies by throwing a rock at the ship. Ulysses cries out again that his name was actually Ulysses, the son of Laertes. He reveals that he was the King of Ithaca, a waster of cities. Then they all sail away.