Throughout Homer's epic, the Odyssey, Poseidon is often characterized as a destructive and cruel deity. He is seen as the primary Olympian antagonist of "that kingly man- Odysseus, whom the other gods seem to hold in high esteem. When viewed from a broader perspective, however, it can be seen that Poseidon, representative of all of the forces of physical and mental chaos, is an intricate part of Odysseus's own mind. In fact, many of the chaotic turns that define Odysseus's journey are caused by his own actions. Poseidon is simply the resulting force of these actions. The encounter between Odysseus and Poseidon's son Polyphemos the Kyklops is an allegorical episode that defines Poseidon as a force of nature, and his son as a result or specific instance of that force. In the Kyklops episode, Odysseus is encountering a personified version of that part of his psyche resulting from the chaos and turmoil of his actions during and after the siege of Troy.
In ancient Greek mythology, a son's character is believed to be a reflection of his father. Early in the poem, Telémakhos demonstrates this axiom by responding to Athena's questioning about his father, "My mother says I am his son; I know not surely. Who has known his own engendering?-(p.8) .This kind of skeptical wordplay is patently Odyssean. More specifically, throughout the poem, sons' identifiable character traits are frequently portrayed as being derivative of the more general tendencies of the father. For example, throughout the poem, Odysseus is described as "the strategist- (p.87), "the great tactician- (p.280) and "that wily man- (p.337) while Telémakhos is frequently described as "Clear-headed- (p.25); he speaks while "seeing all clear- (p.30) or "with no confusion- (p.28). Clear-headedness is obviously a trait that would be possessed by any great tactician or strategist, so it's clear that Telémakhos's defining character trait is a magnification of one part of his father's personality.