The Odyssey: The Temptation of Women

Essay by shinigamishinjiJunior High, 9th gradeB, March 2009

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Many of the tragic pitfalls of Odysseus and his men were from their own weaknesses to women. The temptations that the crew submits to always either anger the gods or distract them from their goal- returning home. In The Odyssey, by the legendary poet Homer, Odysseus and his crew desire to complete their own nostos, but are almost always led astray by the enticements of women.

After many years of sea, Odysseus lands on Kalypso's island. There, Odysseus met not by a strong creature thirsting for blood, but by Kalypso, whose danger lies on her beauty and seductive abilities. Odysseus falls for the temptation of Kalypso, keeping the hero occupied and delaying his nostos. Perhaps, Odysseus may have stayed on the island until he died if Zeus had not forced Kalypso to release Odysseus.

Odysseus also dealt with Kirke, who tricks the men and turns them into animals.

When this trick does not work on Odysseus, Kirke, like Kalypso, resorts to her seductive powers. Once again, Odysseus succumbs to the temptation of a woman. As can be seen, the failure to return home for Odysseus' men revolves around the temptations of women.

A third temptation that Odysseus fell for was from the Sirens. The Sirens try to lure the men into the sea to their deaths. The Sirens sang of promise of wisdom and knowledge if he joins them. Odysseus, who decided to listen to the Sirens' song instead of plugging his ears, is tortured by the sweet sounds of the Sirens. As Odysseus is driven by a mad desire to join the Sirens, his men try hard to keep him tied on the ship's rail. If Odysseus' men had not kept Odysseus at bay, the ship may have most likely crashed by Odysseus and his desire.

Homer has definitely encompassed the temptations of women through this epic poem. As many examples show, Odysseus submits to the many temptations of the women of the story. This is never a positive thing, as these actions reflect negatively to the fate of Odysseus and his men.

Homer. The Odyssey, translated by S.H. Butcher and A. Lang. Vol. XXII. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909-14;, 2001. [Date of Printout].