Circe and Calypso

Essay by owlsarecool November 2014

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Circe and Calypso

Of all the themes in the Odyssey, one seems to stand out, and that is Odysseus' struggle to return home. In his journey, Odysseus meets two seductive, manipulative, and bewitching women, who both set him off his path, yet help him. These two women, Circe, and Calypso, differ in Odysseus' demonstration of faithfulness in both episodes, the degree of which they know Odysseus, their reluctance and willingness to let Odysseus go, and their reaction to Odysseus' strong desire to return home.

Homer uses Odysseus two demonstrates two Greek means of faithfulness through his encounters with the two women. Through his first encounter, the story of Calypso helps Homer exemplify the importance of faith to his family. While Odysseus is in Calypso's lair, he weeps every day for his family: "weeping, his eyes never dry, his sweet life flowing away with the tears he wept for his foiled journey home…" (Homer 157).

Calypso is used to bring out Odysseus' faithfulness towards his family and Penelope. On the other hand, while through his meeting with Circe, Homer demonstrates the perfect Achean hero's faith to his family and crew members. In this quote, "Circe, how could any man in his right mind endure the taste of food and drink before he'd freed his comrades-in-arms and looked them in the eyes?" (Homer 242), Homer exemplifies the Greek morality of staying loyal to his crewmates by having Odysseus ask Circe to free his crewmates first, before they have sex. Through Calypso, Homer shows loyalty to home, while through Circe, Homer shows allegiance to his crew mates.

Circe and Calypso both spend time keeping Odysseus on their island, but Calypso spends more time 6 years long with Odysseus than Circe does. Since...