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Word Count: 351
Whereas the Iliad is about strength the Odyssey is about cunning a difference that becomes apparent in the very first lines of the epics The Iliad tells the story of the rage of the strongest hero in the Greek army Achilles when the Odyssey focuses on a man of twists and turns Odysseus does have extraordinary strength as he demonstrates in Book 21 by being the only man who can string the bow But he relies much more on mind than muscle a tendency that his encounters showcase He knows that he cannot overpower Polyphemus for example and that even if he were able to do so he wouldnt be able to budge the boulder from the door He thus schemes around his disadvantage in strength by exploiting Po1yphemuss stupidity Though he does use violence to put out Polyphemuss single eye this display of strength is part of a larger plan to deceive the brute Similarly Odysseus knows that he is no match for the host of strapping young suitors in his palace so he makes the most of his other strengthhis wits Step by step through disguises and deceptions he arranges a situation in which he alone is armed and the suitors are locked in a room with him With this setup Achilles superb talents as a warrior would enable him to accomplish what Odysseus does but only Odysseuss strategic planning can bring about such a sure victory Some of the tests in Odysseuss long wandering ordeal seem to mock reliance on strength alone No one can resist the Sirens song for example but Odysseus gets an earful of the lovely melody by having his crew tie him up Scylla and Charybdis cannot be beaten but Odysseus can minimize his losses with prudent decisionmaking and careful navigation Odysseuss encounter with Achilles in the underworld is a reminder Achilles won great kleos or glory during his life but that life was brief and ended violently
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