The Odyssey Essay

Submitted By Mwert1
Words: 1183
Pages: 5

The Women in His World
Homer's timeless Greek drama, “The Odyssey” recounts the story of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, as he struggles through countless obstacles in his journey to return to his homeland, his wife Penelope, and his son Telemachus. Even though Odysseus is the protagonist of the epic poem he is not introduced to the audience until Book V. Odysseus' tale begins as he is the honored guest of Alcinous in the land of the Phaiacians. It is during this flashback that the audience is informed of the three important women that are part of Odysseus's journey home: Calypso, Nausikaa, and Circe. These women are meant to serve as a means of temptation to Odysseus and are also part of the reason for his prolonged journey home to Ithaca. It becomes evident through Odysseus's encounters with these women of his strength, courage, sharp intellect and overly confident character.
Odysseus goes on to tell his awaiting hosts of how, “Zeus with a white-hot bolt had crushed my racing warship down the wine-dark sea (187, line 288).” He washed ashore on the island of Ogygia ten days later and was found by the seductive sea nymph Calypso. There, Calypso kept Odysseus in a world o f temptation for seven years preventing him to continue his journey home. Even though Odysseus felt welcomed by Calypso during his stay on the island, he still yearned for his dear wife Penelope. “Off he sat on a headland, weeping there as always, wrenching his heart with sobs and groans and anguish, gazing out over the barren sea through blinding tears,” (155, lines 93-95) symbolizing the heartache Odysseus endured from being kept away from his cherished Penelope. Even when Calypso offered to make him immortal, cherished and loved him through the years, these gifts were never enough for Odysseus's content. It is only because of Athena and Zeus' orders that Calypso is informed that she must release her mortal lover and let him sail back to his homeland. Thus allowing Odysseus to continue his troubled journey home.
After escaping the lustrous Calypso, Odysseus arrives at Aeaea where he is enchanted by “Circe the nymph with lovely braids, an awesome power too who can speak with human voice (234, Lines 149-50).” Disembarking his ship, Odysseus split his men into two groups; one lead by him the other by Lord Eurylochus. Upon arriving at Circe's palace, the men were lured into its grandiose halls by the nymph's spellbinding voice. Once the men had fallen into her trap, Circe concocted a brew and “stirred her wicked drugs to wipe from their memories any thought of home (237, Lines 259-60).” All of Odysseus's comrades were turned into filthy swine and ushered into pigsties.
Having been given a powerful drug against Circe's bewitching by the god Hermes, Odysseus enters the nymph's palace in hopes of finding his men. When Circe encounters Odysseus and realizes that her magic does not affect Odysseus in any form she exclaims, “You must be Odysseus, man of twists and turns,” and resorts to luring him to her bed. (240, Line 366). As ordered by Hermes, Odysseus gives in to temptation and mounts her bed, but only after cajoling an oath from Circe stating that she would never do him any harm. During this conversation, Odysseus demonstrates his cunning and sharp wit, by overcoming Circe's witchcraft and having her succumb to his orders instead of him succumbing to hers. Circe managed to keep Odysseus and his men happy on Aeaea for an entire year. In the seductress's company, Odysseus not once showed any sign of homesickness or need to continue his long awaited homecoming. If it had not been for Odysseus's men who urged him to bid farewell to the beautiful Circe, Odysseus would have utterly forgotten about his return to Ithaca. It is only then that Odysseus goes on to admit to Circe that “my heart longs to be home, my comrades' hearts as well. They wear me down, pleading with me whenever you're away (245, Line 533-35).”
After finally setting sail away from the island of