Analysis Of Homer 's Odyssey By Homer Essay

Analysis Of Homer 's Odyssey By Homer Essay

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Homer’s Odyssey effectively demonstrates the numerous societal roles played out in Greek culture with a stress on the expectations of the two sexes, particularly those of females. Two main factions of women, categorized according to their differing levels of prestige, are used to represent the different ancient Greek women. The lower level is the common mortal woman, separated into women of sovereignty like Penelope and the everyday women like the housemaids. The higher level is the immortal goddess— ranging from well-known Pallas Athena to nymphs and witches like Circe and Calypso. Even though women hold a different locus in society in comparison to men, they assume an undeniable domain of influence and power, which predominantly drives the plot throughout the story.
The epic poem opens with the muse recounting Odysseus’ plight in his homecoming from the Trojan war, and from the first passage alone we learn that females are making life impossible for godlike Odysseus, as he cries for his beautiful wife—Penelope— while held captive by the even more beautiful goddess—Calypso. “Only Odysseus / still longed to return to his home and his wife. / The nymph Calypso, a powerful goddess- / And beautiful- was clinging to him / In her caverns and yearned to possess him” (1:16-20). The fabled Greek hero has extended affairs with two different goddesses on his journey home—Calypso and Circe. His experiences with both goddesses serve as obstacles and markers for Odysseus’ weaker moments in the poem. Calypso holds Odysseus captive for nearly seven years in hopes of marrying him. Even when Hermes sends orders from Zeus for Odysseus’ liberation, the goddess coaxes the hero to stay with her as her immortal husband. She uses her sexual appeal and...


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...kings, veterans, and sailors who all play different roles in the story, I would say that men are not as differentiated in society as women are. The theme of women domineering the action in the story is fostered through Athena, Penelope, Calypso, and Circe’s intricate relationships with the male protagonists. Without Athena’s push, Telemachus would probably not show the dominance over the suitors nor take the initiative of searching for his father as he does. Without Penelope’s allegiance to Odysseus, Odysseus could consider his many options to stay with new women and never return to Ithaca. Without Circe and Calypso’s obstacles, it would be harder for Odysseus to show his attributes of loyalty and cleverness. This interplay makes the epic more stimulating. Women of different societal roles hold an unquestionable power in Greek society that is impossible to overlook.

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