The monsters of Homer’s The Odyssey as written by Robert Fitzgerald all share traits in common, but there is always the small differences which make each close encounter more gripping than the last. When the not-so-glorious Odysseus, son of Laertes just manages to elude the cannibalistic clutches of the blinded Kyklops (IX) and takes to the high seas, he becomes arrogant and taunts his nemesis. He does not realize this, but the very words he uttered then sets the holy executioner upon the necks of his crew. Every island he passes or makes port at, his men become feasts for native monsters; however upon the beautiful island of Aiolia his men are not eaten, nor do they die at the hands of any mortal or immortal foe. What is so significant about Kirke and what does she represent? Is there any value in dominance? The hidden truths that lie within her are things only the Muse of Minstrels could tell until now.
Odysseus encounters multiple higher beings in his travels, but few are in their true form and reveal their intentions making Kirke and Polyphemus oddities. Kirke is simply introduced by Homer as a goddess, with her, “beguiling voice” drawing Eurylokhos’ men into her home where she weaves cloth comparable to that which is woven by goddesses in heaven (X. 244-6). In The Odyssey, Goddesses almost never make their presences known, show or use their powers in view of man, nor demonstrate their great power. However, Kirke is different from the start. Notably, as heavenly as she appears to Odysseus’ men, she converts them into livestock before they even receive a proper meal. It seems slightly repetitive that Odysseus’ men are always eaten by male brutes, but now they are being saved possibly as tomorrow’s dinner by a female goddes...
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...ods of metaphorical dominance are different. Odysseus does not need to do anything further to Polyphemus, as his physical pacifying was also the same action as the metaphorical action to tame Odysseus’ inner evil. However, Odysseus requires further actions to properly subdue Kirke. To pacify Kirke, he must be given her word that she will not cast any more tricks and then take her into her “flawless bed” (X. 391). When Odysseus physically beds Kirke, he is metaphorically restoring his role as a civil male in society and applying it, as men are almost required to be dominant figures in this society, by subduing Kirke and putting her back in her place so to speak. The different steps taken to achieve the dominance over the two characters Kirke and Polyphemus suggest and reveals how though the two brutes and villains must be subdued by strategy but in different forms.
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