Comparing The Deceitful Women Of Homer's Odyssey And The Bible

1278 words - 5 pages

The Deceitful Women of Homer's Odyssey and the Bible

Across all barriers, women have always brought pain, suffering, and aguish to the men as demonstrated in both Homer's Odyssey and the Bible. With their beauty and grace, temptresses like the Sirens and Delilah lure men into their grasps, only to later steer them to their ruin. Other times, they use their cunning abilities and deception, as Circe and Jezebel did, in order to entice men into doing things that they normally would never accede to do. Moreover, most tragedies, disasters, and misfortunes are essentially caused by women as demonstrated by Helen, who caused the Trojan War, and Eve, who caused the exile of all mankind from the Garden of Eden and is the mother of all sin. The women of the Odyssey and the women of the Bible, through astute manipulation and seduction, inflict many tribulations, which in due course cause the pains and destruction of mankind.

First, one of the most obvious examples of how seductresses lead men to disaster is the Sirens. The Sirens in the Odyssey are the personifications of temptation and, as Circes puts it, "enchanters of mankind" (Odyssey 12.41-42). They spend their days luring men like Odysseus with their sweat melodious voices, and those men eventually find their deaths upon the feet of the Sirens. "They sit in their meadow, but the beach before it is pile with bone heaps of men now rotted away, and the skins shrivel upon them" (Odyssey12.45-46). Odysseus's immediate, visceral desires for the Sirens distract him from his nostos, or homeward journey. It is only by his foresight from Circes that keeps him and his men from destruction at the feet of the Sirens.

Similarly, in the Bible, Delilah is the rogue who leads the hero Samson to his doom. Even her instructions were to cajole Samson into telling the secret to his strength. Judges 16:5-6 explains, "The lords of the Philistine came to her and said to her, `Coax him, and find out what makes his strength so great, and how we may overpower him, so that we may bind him in order to subdue him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.'" Samson is legend to have extraordinary strength, and, therefore, cannot be forced to do anything. Delilah, then, has to use her feminine wiles to obtain Samson's secret to his strength. In Judges 16:15-17, it states, "Then she said to him, 'How can you say, "I love you," when your heart is not with me?" Delilah knows Samson loves her and she uses this fact to sway Samson to give her his secret, and therefore causing his fall.

In addition to their poisonous beauty, women are born with the natural gifts of shrewdness and cleverness, which they use to destroy men. In the Odyssey, Circe wins Odysseus over with elegant speech and convinces Odysseus to stray from his journey for years, even despite the fact that she turned his men into pigs. "So she spoke, and the proud heart in us was persuaded" (Odyssey...

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