The Cunning and Deceitful Women of Homer’s Odyssey Essay

1483 Words6 Pages
The Cunning and Deceitful Women of Homer’s Odyssey

One of the most famous works from the early Greek era is Homer’s Odyssey. It details the journey home of a war hero, Odysseus. His homecoming entails many adventures, each presented as a separate episode that he must overcome. Though the varied episodes differ in terms of characters and settings, most are based on similar patterns of plot and theme. The themes that are most emphasized are forgetfulness, a willingness to risk pain for pleasure, and female temptation.

When comparing the Sirens episode with much of Odysseus’ other adventures, one can observe an emergence and repetition of these themes. The most obvious comparison that can be drawn between the Sirens episode and most
…show more content…
Yet, one main difference is evident. Here Odysseus does not receive advice from anyone, rather he passes the challenge through wit and luck. Though Odysseus managed to avoid being tied into the web of the Sirens and the Lotus-eaters, he loses much time with both Calypso and Circe. Circe also draws men in with her songs, but it is her herbs, not the voice, that causes forgetfulness and turns them into beasts. “Singing with a sweet voice…into the mixture malignant drugs, to make them forgetful of their own country.” (10.221, 235-236) Once again it is advice, this time from Hermes, that allows Odysseus to save his men. “I will tell you all the malevolent guiles of Circe” (10.289) The recurrence of helpful stranger, like Circe with the Sirens, is a common plot theme throughout Odyssey. Though he manages to avoid becoming swine, still he succumbs to Circe’s charms and resides on the island for a year. It is only the reminders of his men that bring to his mind the homecoming. “It is time to think about our own country.” (10.472) Circe is the only one who manages to draw Odysseus away from his homeland, though in the end, he does leave.

When concentrating on the theme of forgetfulness, one notices many similarities, both thematic and plot, between the Sirens episode and others. Though the preoccupation of the Siren scene leans to forgetfulness, another

More about The Cunning and Deceitful Women of Homer’s Odyssey Essay

Get Access