Odyssey and Circe

Topics: Circe, Odyssey, Hermes Pages: 5 (1901 words) Published: March 11, 2012

On the Isle of Aeaea, known to the ancient Greeks as the Island of the Dawn, lived the goddess Circe. Circe is the daughter of Helios, the Sun god, and the sister of Aeëtes and Pasiphaë, the mother of Ariadne. Other people called her the daughter of Hekate and sister of Medea. Her legend said she was originally from Colchis on the Black Sea, but fled after poisoning her Scythian husband to take up residence in the West on the Island of Aeaea. She was both a Goddess and a Sorceress, and are sometimes referred to as “The Dread Goddess”. Circe is a very complex and unique goddess, she uses all means in order to achieve her goal, expecially in love. Also, she has a habit of transforming people into animals, which she enjoys a lot.

Like many other Goddesses, Circle also had a strong association with birds. Birds are believed to travel freely between the Underworld and the Earth, often taking their God or Goddess with them. The Greek poet, Homer, referred to her as "Circe of the Braided Tresses," because she was believed to use the braids of her hair, not only to control fate, but also to control the forces of creation and destruction. It is common for someone to use braids in magic, because the tying and untying of knots has often been used in folk-magic spells as a way of binding and releasing magical energy, and Circe was, indeed, an extremely powerful Sorceress.

Circe has often been linked to the death-birds known as "kirkos." Those birds are actually falcons, who circle their prey before they finally dive in for the kill. Which is, in reality, an excellent way of describing Circe, since she encircled her human prey within her island home, and then used her magic to enchant them. Interestingly, the Latin words circus and cirque, both have the same root as the name Circe, and they are both described as a fence for funerary games, which, indeed, perfectly describe Circe’s island.

Circe showed her habit in Homer’s Odyssey, when Odysseus and his men landed on the island of Aeaea. After many days they found themselves landing upon the shores of Aeaea. Upon their arrival, the men drew lots to see who would stay onboard the ship and who would go off to explore the newly found land. Eurylochus and twenty two of the other men were chosen to go forth and investigate. They found the island to be a large rich forest, thick with oak trees. The wanderers walked through the woods until they came upon a fabulous palace. There they found lions and wolves prowling about the grounds, all displaying charactertsics of a most unusual nature. Instead of attacking the search party, the beasts stood upright and warmly welcomed them. If it were not for their animals forms, thought Eurylochus, they would be human. It would not be long before his suspicions would be confirmed. As the men entered the corrider of the palace they found Circe busy weaving a tapestry upon her loom. She graciously invited her visitors to join her for dinner, and at once set before them a huge banquet. The hungry men eagerly accepted, all but Eurylochus, who suspecting a trap chose to remain outside. Safely hidden by some tall ferns, Eurylochus peeked through an open window and watched the hungry sailors fill their bellies. But the men did not realize that their food had been drugged by Circe. Circe then entered the dining hall happy to find her entire party of guests fast asleep at the table. She drew her wand and touched each of them lightly on their shoulders, instantly turning the entire lot into a herd of swine. Feeling quite amused with herself, Circe hurried the sailors into a sty, where she left them in the mud. Shocked and weeping, Eurylochus returned to the ship and sadly reported to Odysseus everything he saw. Odysseus listened carefully, and when the story was over he picked up his sword and ran off to rescue his crew.

As he made his way to the palace, Odysseus met the god Hermes who had a magical white flower with a black root, called Moly. This...
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