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Questions on circe and book 10 of the Odyssey Essay

1. What has happened up to the point that Odysseus meets Circe but after he leaves the land of the Cyclops Polyphemus chases after Odysseus and his men throwing boulders that narrowly miss them. Odysseus tells Polyphemus his name and Polyphemus curses Odysseus. They go to Aeolia and gets given a bag of wind by Aeolus. Odysseus falls asleep and his men open the bag as they think it contains gold. The wind comes out and gets blown of course. The stop at the Lystragonians and three of his men get eaten by the cannibal giants. When arriving at Circe’s island, he splits the men into groups and sends half away to look for the house.

His men get turned into pigs by Circe and Eurylochus returns to tell Odysseus. Odysseus then ventures alone to save his men. Hermes gave Odysseus a herb to eat and how to fight off Circe. 8/10 B) How is vividness and excitement shown when Circe tries to drug Odysseus “dark forebodings pursued” uses lighting imagery to show the eerie and ominous future Odysseus sees in the forest. “high Olympus” in reference to where Hermes is returning to would be exciting to an ancient audience to see Odysseus gaining the help of Gods. The adjective “beautiful” to describe the chair vividly shows the richness and elegance Circe has in her home.

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Odysseus drinks the drug “without suffering any magic effects” the anticipation of whether the drug would have worked or not shows Odysseus as being immune to her “evil” intent. He “snatched my keen sword” the verb “snatched” and “rushed” shows an element of surprise to Circe adding to the dramatic fighting scene. Circe “shrieks” adding to the imagery of senses by which the audience can vividly feel her fear. Circe “clasped my knees” to which this supplication adds excitement due to the fact that the magic herb has worked so well for Odysseus.

Circe’s “words had wings” which vividly shows her elegance in the way she enchantingly speaks. Circe tells Odysseus that she “was always told to expect (him) here” which emphasises excitement to which he was meant to succeed and come to her. 18/20 C) Who should be admired the most, Circe or Calypso? Both Circe and Calypso play main roles as women in the Odyssey who help and hinder Odysseus, but their wit and mannerism should be admired. Circe first comes into the Odyssey at book 10. Circe is described as “evil in her heart” which instantly doesn’t make her a good or moral character.

Circe also fails to show xenia to Odysseus as although she does offer him food, she asks multiple questions to him. An ancient audience would find the lack of xenia wrong and as an insult to Zeus. Similarly, she tries to manipulate him by complementing him. Simonides wrote about emotional women who use sex as a weapon, as well as this, Aristotle said that women would destroy men if left alone, women would destroy men. This is what Circe does by living alone and burning men into pigs. She turned Scylla into a rock out of jealous which leads into Simonides poem of women.

Alternatively, when we first meet Circe (before she sees Odysseus) she is weaving and singing which would be what a women should be expected to do, there for meeting moral and social expectation of a woman. As she does live alone, the fact she can defend herself and try to stay alive (by supplicating herself) shows bravery against potential harm. However, she does hinder Odysseus’ journey by a year by their own will but does end up helping them with the correction direction to sail in. Book 5 has Odysseus on Ogygia with the sea nymph Calypso for 7 years. She holds him captive as he cries on the beach every day.

Calypso uses her own selfish means to keep Odysseus on her island. When Hermes comes to the island, she also doesn’t show him xenia as she bombards him with questions. She fights and argues to keep Odysseus even though it is not permitted to marry him. Her own name means “concealment” in Greek. Calpyso, like Circe, is the image of a good woman as she is also found singing and weaving. Even though she could have kept Odysseus on the island, she helps him build a raft to leave. She is able to let go of her own feelings to aid Odysseus on his journey back to Ithaca.

She also obeys Zeus’ orders. To an ancient audience and for moral reasoning, Circe is to be the most admired for she greatly aids Odysseus. In saying this, without the help of Hermes, Odysseus would have been killed thus Circe’s actions are intently evil. Calypso should be admired the most for without her letting Odysseus leave, his journey would have come to an end. Although she also needed Hermes to let him go, her intentions were pure. She loved Odysseus and they often has a physical relationship. She let him go and sacrificed her feelings to make him happy.

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