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A Reminder of Manhood

Uploaded by Quest4Glory on Jul 05, 2004

Throughout Homer's epic work, The Odyssey, Odysseus encounters temptations of beautiful women and the promise of immortality. Under the price of having to sacrifice his manhood, Odysseus is willing to abandon his homeland, one of the ways in which manhood was defined in the ancient world, to live in eternal bliss. Calypso, Circe, and the Sirens are all examples of the beautiful women whom Odysseus must face and overcome in order to return to his native land. Although each temptress implores different methods of enticement, a common goal of detaining Odysseus from returning home is prevalent; however through failing efforts and intervention of the gods, the constant prodding of Odysseus' crew, or prior knowledge of the situation, Odysseus prevails over the enchantresses' temptations, allowing Odysseus to return to his homeland, once again regaining his identity as a man.

The episode involving the beautiful nymph, Calypso, relies on the intervention of the gods to rescue Odysseus from her enticing actions. With divine power on his side, Odysseus gains the right to return home and regain his identity as a man and as a leader. For seven years, Calypso has lured Odysseus to "lay with her each night, for she compelled him" (V. 164). Using her beauty while possessing hopes of making Odysseus her husband, the enchantress becomes overly distressed when the gods announce that she must release Odysseus and permit him to return to his homeland. Reluctant to let him go, Calypso promises Odysseus immortal life if he chooses to stay with her.

Without the divine intervention, Calypso would have continued to hold Odysseus captive on her island. The gods, instructing the beautiful nymph to release him, possess power to demand her, the power that Calypso cannot challenge. Although Calypso attempts to convince Odysseus to stay, with visions of regaining his identity in sight, he declines her offer of immortal life and chooses to leave the island.

When Odysseus and his crew reach Circe's island, Hermes is quick to warn Odysseus against this enchantress' powers. Cautioning Odysseus against Circe's enchanted cup, Hermes gives him a magical plant that will counteract the affects of her magic:

Your cup with numbing drops of night

and evil, stilled of all remorse,

she will infuse to charm your sight;

but this great herb with holy force

will keep your mind and senses clear (X.316-319).

Upon receiving the forewarning and the magic plant, Odysseus is able to inhibit Circe's power and is not...

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Uploaded by:   Quest4Glory

Date:   07/05/2004

Category:   The Odyssey

Length:   4 pages (858 words)

Views:   10089

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