If Poseidon and Polyphemus are the hostile aspects of this world, it is not foolish for Odysseus to cry his name in defiance of them, and so be subject to Polyphemus’ rock-slinging and his curse; or rather, the foolishness or good sense of the action is not the point. To pass from the darkness of the cave into the light, to pass from being “nobody” to having a name, is to be born. But to be born is to cast one’s name in the teeth of a hostile universe; it is to incur the enmity of Poseidon. In such a world, what better name could be found than Odysseus, “Trouble”? — George E. Dimock Jr., “The Name of Odysseus,” Hudson Review 9:1 (1956)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *