Cyclops (play)

The Cyclops (Greek Κύκλωψ, German The Cyclops ) of Euripides is the only ancient satyr play completely preserved. The dating of the work is controversial, it seems to have been written 411-408 BC.


It tells the story of the encounter of Odysseus and Polyphemus. The original used Homer's Odyssey, the always ironic reference.

In the prologue tells Silenus, the oldest of the satyrs, that he suffered in search of Dionysos was shipwrecked and cast upon the island of the Cyclops. Here he deadlines and the satyrs her life as a servant of Polyphemus. One day stranded Odysseus and his companions on the island and ask the Silen if he could sell them in exchange for wine food. After a short wine tasting explains this immediately ready for it and goes into the cave of the Cyclops to bring lambs and cheese.

When he comes back and wants to complete the trade, Polyphemus appears and accuses Odysseus immediately of theft. The Silen falls Odysseus in the back and confirmed this statement. It is followed by a verbal duel between Polyphemus and Odysseus, which has the consequence that Odysseus and his companions are led into the cave. Shortly after, Odysseus comes out of the cave and told that two of the fellows have been eaten. Here there is a difference to the Homeric episode. In the Odyssey, the Cyclops had the cave with a stone, so that no one could escape. Euripides, however, had this motif drop it, since the whole satyr play takes place outside the cave and the viewer can not see what is going on in the cave.

Odysseus now forges together with the satyrs a plan for revenge. He wants to make the Cyclops drunk and blind him. The satyrs vote only cheering for, but when Odysseus calls to action, they chicken out. Odysseus still manages to dazzle the Cyclopes. In the run of the Companions of the chorus of satyrs, then at least help to guide the Cyclopes astray. The companions can escape, and Polyphemus cursed them, whether they are wrong for years by the sea.