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Odysseus' encounter with and escape from the Cyclops, Polyphemus, in Book 9 is considered to be his most significant achievement because he not only saves himself but also a number of his men through his cunning and intelligence--with one exception.Initially, he tells Polyphemus that his name is or Noman because he needs to remain anonymous in order not to evoke any retribution from any of the gods, like Poseidon, who are already trying to destroy the man known as Odysseus.Odysseus is a hero due to the extraordinary leadership abilities exemplified as a result of his tenacious bravery, swift intellect, and selfless acts.
In so doing, he has given himself the weapon with which to defeat the suitors and taken them by surprise.
Odysseus, however, using the discipline honed through many years of warfare, ignores this insult because, as a warrior king about to retake his kingdom, his ultimate goal is much more important than responding to a single insult.
Odysseus demonstrates his heroic nature throughout the in both significant and insignificant episodes, and personifies the virtues of a Bronze Age warrior king, with the addition of intelligence and endurance, attributes that allow him to survive long enough to retake his kingdom.
A journey to Hades, especially for a living person, is incredibly dangerous, and there are only a few heroes who have made the attempt--Hercules, Achilles, Aeneas--because they face the real possibility that they will be forced to remain in the underworld.
Because there is no guaranty that Odysseus will be able to ascend to the living world, Odysseus is risking his life, just as he did many times over during the Trojan War.