Christian Segura


CLAS 273

Quarantined on Cyclops Island!!!

    I decided to talk about the mythological tale of Achaemenides being stranded on an island full of cyclopes because I feel it best relates to most of us being quarantined in one set location (hopefully not with people as scary as the cyclopes). This tale sees our protagonist, Achaemenides being left behind by his shipmates on an island inhabited by the terrifying Cyclops! Now, maybe his fellow crewmates thought he was dead, after all, it seemed as though Achaemenides was likely going to be eaten by Polyphemus. However, as we come to find out, he only survived because of Aeneas. Achaemenides was so close to reaching his shipmates out at sea but didn’t want to call out for help and risk exposing his position. Achaemenides never got to the safety of his ship and ended up being stranded on the Isle of Cyclopes.

Stranded, he struggles to survive and begins to doubt he will ever make it off the island alive. Achaemenides is both resourceful and mindful during his time on the island. He scavenges what he could in order to eat and hopefully live long enough to get off the island while keeping in mind that he is not alone. Though he is not being hunted by the cyclopes, Achaemenides knows if he is spotted he will die and be buried with this creature’s “maw” as he so puts it. Luckily enough, Achaemenides see a ship close enough to the island that he signals the ship of a stranded survivor requesting immediate help. The ship, which is full of Trojans, docks on the coast and accepts our hero on board. Achaemenides is finally freed from the hell that was the Isle of the Cyclopes.   

One reason why I find this story to be intriguing is for its use of imagery, but furthermore for its realism. The way in which our protagonist speaks and describes everything he is experiencing is surreal. One can almost feel his fear when he mentions that at any moment he can be eaten by one of these cyclops. The reader can even vividly picture how disgusting these creatures must look with all the gore and blood smearing their faces and giant beards. The sheer description of looks and terrifying eating rituals from the cyclops is very well described in detail, almost to a fault. Furthermore, I’d say that this story could be rewritten during today’s pandemic so that our hero is essentially quarantined with these monstrous creatures and fighting for his survival until he finds a way off the island. The whole time I was reading this tale, I kept trying to omit and add some of my details so that the myth reads kind of like the world’s most terrifying quarantine experience.

4 thoughts on “Quarantined on Cyclops Island!!!

  1. I cannot have imagined a better way to describe being out and about shopping fearing the invisible threat! While the violence and gore makes it seem like an extreme comparison it’s rather fitting. Picking up groceries knowing someone who is sick could have picked it up moments before you did. Just a terrible feeling. At least we aren’t eating acorns and grass clippings.


  2. I can definitely see the parallels between quarantine today and this story. This story, though, made me think of Odysseus and his battle with Polyphemus in the Odyssey. Odysseus watches Polyphemus eat his friends and then he is stuck with the cyclops until he finds a way out (sneaking out on the belly of a sheep). I think a lot of us feel like we are sneaking around every time we have to leave our houses because it’s practically illegal to leave.


  3. The vivid description of the killings and death is something I enjoy, but fear. I love that it gives much details and that the readers can actually feel what its like to be on the island. However, the idea of being on there is horrible. Also, I love the comparison to what is happening now because I do feel like Achaemenides in a way.

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  4. Wow I really love this comparison, I did not think of it like that first reading it but I really like that interpretation! It is strikingly similar to how we are living today, lots of people stranded but by themselves. Strikingly similar scenarios and at the same time varyingly different reasons why “quarantine” is occurring.

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