Wine is an integral part of American culture; it is seen every day from parents drinking a glass at dinner, to modern media. Wine is also seen in the Odyssey. It, mixed with drugs, is used to achieve goals and cause different effects. In Ancient Greek culture, wine has a different role than in American culture. The use of liquor and drugs caused intriguing issues that affected the plot of the poem. In the Odyssey, alcohol is used to trick and confuse the weak and feeble. Alcohol is also used to control others actions, to punish one based on their sins, and to influence one to forget.
A simple woman held no power over Odysseus and his men. They thought of Kirkê as “A young weaver singing a pretty song to set the air” (10.250). Their demeaning attitude made this feminist angry. The men were acting like pigs, and so she would make them be as they were acting. “On thrones she seated them, and lounging chairs, while she prepared a meal of cheese and barley and amber honey mixed with Pramnian wine, adding her own vile pinch, to make them lose desire or thought of our dear father land” (10.260). Kikê used her power of potions and alcohol to her desired advantage. Her offering of “honey mixed with Pramnian wine” portrays a delightful entertainer offering a sweet, innocent, elegant, fine wine. In turn, the effects are used to control and punish the men.
Compared to Odysseus and his men, a Kyklopes was bigger and stronger, but not smarter. Odysseus outsmarted Polyphêmos, by using wine and its effects to trick the Kyklopes. Odysseus stated, “My moment was at hand, and I went forward, holding an ivy bowl of my dark drink, looking up, saying: ‘Kyklopes, try some wine. Here’s liquor to wash down your scraps of men’” (9.380). Odysseus knew that with the effects of his dark drink he could trick the Kyklopes and ultimately change his fate.
“He reeled and tumbled backward, his great head lolling to one side: and sleep took him like any creature. Drunk, hiccupping, he dribbled streams of liquor and bits of men. Now, by the gods, I drove my big hand spike deep in the embers, charring it again[…]straight forward they sprinted, lifted it, and rammed it deep in his crater eye, and I leaned on it turning it as a shipwright turns a drill in planking” (9.408-419).