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Circe Vs Calypso Essay, Research Paper

Although both Circe and Calypso from Homer s The Odyssey fulfill the archetypal theme of the witch who hinders the protagonist s return, they have several differences between them.

One of the first differences is simply the way that each witch detains Odysseus. When Odysseus meets Circe, he subdues her with a plan given to him by Hermes, Zeus personal messenger: As soon as Circe gives you a tap with her long rod, draw your sword she will be terrified, and will invite you to come in with her. Do not refuse (Rouse 118). His plan works; Circe says, Come now, put your sword in the sheath (Rouse 11).

After Odysseus overcomes Circe, she is more docile and welcomes him into her home: Let us lie down on my bed and trust each other in love (Rouse 119).

However, Calypso is a different, more pleasant story. After staying in her palace for eight years, Zeus sends Hermes to set Odysseus free. Zeus says there s a man here the most unlucky of them all and the orders are to send him away at once (Rouse 64). Calypso is enjoying her new lover, but she lets him

you luck all the same. If you knew what troubles you will have you would stay where you are and keep this house with me, and be immortal, however much you might want to see your wife whom you long for day in and day out. Is she prettier than me? I think not (Rouse 66).

Circe also possesses a somewhat sinister nature, whereas Calypso genuinely cares for Odysseus.

Circe s poisonous side is shown in several different ways. Although Hermes warns Odysseus I will reveal to you all the malign arts of Circe. She will make you a posset and informs him, your companions are shut up yonder in Circe s, like so many pigs cozy in their pigsties (Rouse 118).

However, Calypso genuinely cares for Odysseus. The love was all on her part (Rouse 65) and she shows eagerness to make Hermes happy: My dear Hermes you are heartily welcome. Tell me what you want: I am glad to do it if I can, and if it is doable, but do come in, and let me entertain my guest (Rouse 64). Calypso’s only crime is being possessive of Odysseus. Although he is found Sitting in his usual place on the shore, wearing out his soul with

lamentation and tears (Rouse 63), Calypso continues to hold him hostage.

Although Circe and Calypso complete the archetype of interference by witches, they have several differences between their personalities and treatment of Odysseus.


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