Analysis Of Homer 's Odyssey, The Nymph Calypso Essay

Analysis Of Homer 's Odyssey, The Nymph Calypso Essay

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In Homer’s Odyssey, the nymph Calypso protests the unfairness and jealousy of the gods when Zeus commands her through Hermes to release Odysseus. She cites Artemis, who shot Orion after Dawn took him, and likens herself to Demeter, who made love with Iasion, before Zeus struck him down. However, in Homer’s Hymn to Demeter, wherein the goddess loses her daughter Persephone because of Zeus’ schemes, she is portrayed in a way that more closely resembles Penelope rather than Calypso. Demeter and Penelope are put in identical circumstances: they are cheated by the gods, who kidnapped Persephone and delayed Odysseus homecoming, they remain loyal to their loved ones, despite encountering people who could replace them: the baby Demophoon to replace Demeter’s daughter and the suitors to supplant Penelope’s husband, and finally, they are reunited with their family and given happiness by the gods, who granted Demeter her daughter for two-thirds of each year along with rights she wishes among the gods, and gave Penelope and Odysseus peace in Ithaca for the rest of their lives.
Both Demeter and Penelope lose a loved one because of the schemes of the gods. In the Hymn to Demeter, Zeus gives Demeter’s daughter, Persephone, as a wife to Hades, who kidnaps her and takes her to the Underworld. When she discovers Persephone’s fate from Helios, Demeter is bereaved. “But a more terrible and savage grief came into Demeter’s heart. / Then, angered at the dark-clouded son of Cronos, / she avoided the assembly of the gods and lofty Olympus…” (H. Dem. 90-92) Demeter is heartbroken by the loss of her daughter, and angered by the gods who took her daughter away from her. Similarly, Penelope laments the loss of her husband, Odysseus, who, as far as she know...


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...mbles the goddess as she is portrayed in the Hymn to Demeter. The small allusion Calypso makes in her comparing herself to Demeter is overwhelmingly outweighed by the multitude of parallels Demeter and Persephone share. Both women undergo a loss of a close family member due to the schemes of other gods, followed by a period of great grief. They are both met with temptations to move on and simply replace the ones they have lost, yet both women remain faithful and endure, bravely defying over a hundred men, and even the gods themselves. In the end, Demeter and Penelope are handsomely rewarded for their efforts with the return of their loved ones as well as additional blessings from the gods. And although their victories are not absolute, as Persephone and Odysseus must leave them again, they are complacent because Zeus has ensured them their fates and their happiness.

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