The Odyssey Essay

920 words - 4 pages

In Homer’s Greek epic poem, The Odyssey, the characters Calypso, Athena, and Penelope have an effect on Odysseus and his journey home. Throughout the poem, Odysseus plays a major role but the female characters demonstrate their intelligence, authoritative power, and strength within society. The strong women in The Odyssey are exclusive in their character, goals, and connection towards men.
Throughout The Odyssey, women are portrayed as important figures and Calypso’s seduction hinders Odysseus’ journey home. After Calypso traps Odysseus for nine years in Book 5, she begs him to stay with her and make love to her forever. “Her temptation trumps all those Odysseus has seen before”. In exchange for her request, she promises to save him from future obstacles and give him something that no one else has, which is immortality. Calypso’s intention causes pressure in Odysseus’ journey. These offers are great rewards and Odysseus thinks Calypso’s beauty is more tempting than his wife but he is not interested in her. He wants to be home with his wife, Penelope. At one point, Calypso was selfish in her relationship. Since she is the sea-nymph, she complains to Zeus that there is a “double standard when it comes to relationships between mortals and immortals. Male gods are allowed to take mortal lovers, while female goddesses are not.” Calypso thinks that women with too much power sacrifices love. The way Calypso ask Odysseus if he wants to leave seems more of a rhetorical question than one that he should answer. Her tone gives off the confidence that she knows he cannot resist her tempting offer. She foreshadows that Odysseus will have a joyous homecoming because he rather suffer through all the pains than stay with her. Her power and social standing is based on the charms that she gives off, which presents a barrier to Odysseus as he tries to get back to Penelope.
The goddess of wisdom, Athena, also had an effect on Odysseus and his journey home. She is Odysseus' most influential supporter. She appears in disguise repeatedly throughout The Odyssey to offer protection, encouragement, and instructions to help Odysseus. She also tests Odysseus by provoking the suitors to abuse him when he was disguised as a beggar to see if he will give in to temptation and fight back. Even these tests prove to be beneficial for Odysseus. Athena received her father, Zeus, approval for her plan on helping Odysseus. “She appears in dreams and in various disguises she comforts Penelope, arranges for Nausicaa to find Odysseus in Scheria, and hides Odysseus in mist”. Athena gave Odysseus a selfless friendship that he had with no other woman. She is a goddess but she treats Odysseus almost as an...

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