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Odysseus Calypso Essay

Calypso And Circe In Homer's Odyssey

Calypso and Circe

The islands of Circe and Calypso in Homer’s Odyssey are places where Odysseus’ most challenging problems occur. In contrast to battles with men, Cyclops, or animals, sexual battles with women are sometimes much more difficult to win. These two female characters are especially enticing to Odysseus because they are goddesses. Though it is evident that Odysseus longs to return to Penelope in Ithaka, it sometimes appears that he has lost vision of what life was like with a wife, a son, and with thousands of people who regard him as King. Although his experiences on the islands of these goddesses were similar in that he was retained from Ithaka for the longest periods of his adventure, these goddesses and the ways that Odysseus reacts to his experiences with them represent two very different aspects of Odysseus’ life and disposition in life.

When Odysseus and his men arrive on Circe’s island, they are still in fairly good shape. In Book X, lines 194-196, Odysseus says: "I climbed to a rocky place of observation and looked at the island, and the endless sea lies all in a circle around it" I believe this illuminates a very important aspect in Circe’s tendencies. She doesn’t seem to want to cause any real harm to the men, but wishes to encircle these men with her food, wine, and lust. She seems to be obsessed with lust and material possessions, and it is my belief that she represents all that is weak in women (at least in Homer’s time). In lines 294-296 Hermes is consulting Odysseus on how to avoid harm from Circe: "rush forward against Circe, as if you were raging to kill her, and she will be afraid, and invite you to go to bed with her."

Circe also shows us as readers Odysseus’ weakness towards lust and sexuality. This time spent on Circe’s island was a test of whether he could resist lust from a goddess, and he fails. At first it appears as though the only reason Odysseus sleeps with Circe is to regain his companions, but she easily persuades them to stay. And what’s even worse is the fact that Odysseus isn’t even the first one ready to go. His men are the ones who urge him to leave: "What ails you now? It is time to think about our own country". So though at a glance it appears that Odysseus is merely succumbing to Circe’s schemes for reasons related to their health and well-being, if we read between the lines, we soon begin to realize that Odysseus is weak...

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Calypso and Circe in Homer's Odyssey Essays

881 Words4 Pages

Calypso and Circe

The islands of Circe and Calypso in Homer’s Odyssey are places where Odysseus’ most challenging problems occur. In contrast to battles with men, Cyclops, or animals, sexual battles with women are sometimes much more difficult to win. These two female characters are especially enticing to Odysseus because they are goddesses. Though it is evident that Odysseus longs to return to Penelope in Ithaka, it sometimes appears that he has lost vision of what life was like with a wife, a son, and with thousands of people who regard him as King. Although his experiences on the islands of these goddesses were similar in that he was retained from Ithaka for the longest periods of his adventure, these goddesses and the…show more content…

At first it appears as though the only reason Odysseus sleeps with Circe is to regain his companions, but she easily persuades them to stay. And what’s even worse is the fact that Odysseus isn’t even the first one ready to go. His men are the ones who urge him to leave: "What ails you now? It is time to think about our own country". So though at a glance it appears that Odysseus is merely succumbing to Circe’s schemes for reasons related to their health and well-being, if we read between the lines, we soon begin to realize that Odysseus is weak in the voracious hands of lust.

Odysseus arrives on Calypso’s island alone, after the loss of his men and ship. Calypso rescues him and loves and cares for him in her cave. At first, it seems like Odysseus doesn’t seem much to mind her taking care of him, but over time it is plainly evident that he is unhappy with her. When Hermes arrives on Calypso’s island to give her the message from Zeus to release Odysseus, he is bawling on the beach a day-long activity for him. Calypso is holding him with her by force; she has no companions to help him back to Ithaka, nor has she a ship to send him in. Athena pleads with Zeus to give Odysseus good fortune, saying that "he lies away on an island suffering strong pains in the palace of the nymph Kalypso, and she detains him by constraint, and he cannot make his way to his country, for he has not any ships by him, nor any companions who can convey him back

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