Circe_turning_men_into_swine.jpgSTEVN DIDIG IT

As you research the relationship between these characters, consider these questions:
    1. What events occurred just prior to landing on Circe's island?ysseus and his men arrive on Aeolus’s island, where Aeolus captures the wind and puts it into a bag for Odysseus, which will make for an easy journey back to Ithaca. However, the men believe that what is contained in the bag is a treasure which Odysseus does not want to share amongst them all. Therefore, when he falls asleep, the men open the bag and thus release the wind which it contains. The ship is then blown back to Aeolus’s island where Odysseus asks him if he could return the winds to the bag. However, Aeolus refuses to help them, as he believes that they are cursed, for he does not understand why if they were given this gift they would sacrifice it. The reason is because the men chose not to control their desires.
Prior to arriving on Circe’s island, Odysseus and his men stopped at the island of the Laestrygonians in hopes of finding food. However, they were unaware that the Laestrygonians consist of a group of giants and cannibals. Unfortunately, the Laestrygonians consume some of the men before they are able to flee from the island. This misfortunate is much like the adventure on the island of the Cyclops, a land also populated by giants who are cannibals. One of these Cyclops decides that he will devour both Odysseus and his men; however, he only succeeds in eating a few of them, for Odysseus is able to create an escape plan before he can consume the rest. Both the island of the Laestrygonians and the island of the Cyclops represent the opposite of the Greek “ideal” city, for they consist of selfish and lawless peoples, which is unlike the Greeks who value civilization and knowledge.
-Aris Margosian
2. Does Odysseus exhibit good leadership qualities or skills?
Odysseus exhibits both good and bad leadership qualities while on Circe’s island. He kills a stag, which he then carries back for his men and himself to feast on. This demonstrates how Odysseus provides for his crew and that they are dependant on him. After hearing that Circe has transformed multiple members of his crew into animals, he attempts to rescue them, even though is aware of the risk that he too could be turned into an animal. Fortunately on his journey to her palace, he is met by Hermes who makes him immune to her potion. Upon realizing he is unresponsive to her potion, the two sleep together, as Odysseus is told that is the only way that she will transform his men, who are currently animals, back into humans. However, he does not show that he is uncomfortable with the situation, even though is married to another woman. In addition, he decides to stay on her island for one year, and it is his crew who has to remind him of their mission which is to return home to Ithaca.
-Aris Margosian

Odysseus does have good leadership qualities because he tried to save his men form Circe. He also tried his best to save as many men as he could through out his entire journey. I believe he tried to do what was best each time he was in a very tough position even though each choice wasn't the right one. I also believe he has great skills because he was a great fighter and could quickly think on his feet. I know that he has made many mistakes on his way back home but I still believe he is a good leader. - Mima Kaba

3. How are the men portrayed?
In this part of the journey the men are portrayed as pigs. Throughout the journey from Troy the men have been driven by their bodily needs such as their hunger instead of their brains, this has gotten the men into a lot of trouble and danger. The men originally went up to Circe’s palace in search of food. There is an expression that says “you eat like a pig” meaning you eat a lot. That is why I think the men are portrayed as pigs, it is because of their desire for food and because they are driven by their stomachs and not their brains.
In this certain portion of the book men are portrayed literally as animals. Pigs, lions, and all types of beasts. I think that this might have have a second meaning that is more relevant to real life. In this part, circe has the power to turn any man into an animal with this special wine that she has. But at the same time in real life, do woman not have the power to turn men into pigs? Are men pigs? Sometimes, yes, they very well can be. Even after the men were turned back into humans, they chose to stay and relax with Circe for a whole year, just relaxing and putting off going home to their wife and children, who they are slowly killing by being away fro so long. Is this not showing how men can be pigs? Its just a theory to think about. -Katie van Amson

These men are portrayed as pigs. They are gluttony and not so smart. They usually think of food first, which causes them to face many troubles and danger. In the later chapter, “The Cattle of the Sun,” they do not listen to Odysseus, who warns them not to eat the cattle of the sun. As a result, they all eat it and die by their gluttony. -L

4. Does Circe have a history? Do we know what she was like prior to Odysseus' arrival?

I do believe Circe has a history it is pretty obvious because she must have other animals in her home before Odysseus arrival. I believe this because she was very afraid when Odysseus did not transform into the animal. This shows that she was very used to having this happen. I believe she was not the same because she was very intimate with him. I think once the men were turned into animals that was the end of their time together. - Mima Kaba

5. Is this a civilized world?
I think that this is both a civilized and not civilized world. I believe that Circe’s Island is more civilized than the Cyclops’ island but a great deal less civilized than Ithaka. On Circe’s Island Circe lived in an actual building and not a cave like the Cyclops’s did. Circe’s Island is much less civilized than Ithaka because it does not have an organized government, connection with other people, agricultural or any of the other major aspects that make Ithaka a civilized world.
6. Does the hero have a helper?
The hero does have an helper in my opinion because Odysseus does not go through any of his journeys with out help form anyone. He gets help from gods, his crew and the woman he meets.I think the hero's a suppose to have because no hero can get through these their journey's alone and having helpers is apart of the hero journey. - Mima Kaba
7. What role does magic play?
Magic plays a huge role in Circe's and Odysseus' relationship. Their relationship began because he wanted to save his men from the spell that had put upon them and he was the only one who could help. Magic is the base of this book but it also shows Odysseus' weakness for women and how he was not faithful to his wife even when he is not spellbound. - Mima Kaba
8. Is there a god involved?
Yes, Mercury. He gives Odysseus the magic herb which protects Odysseus against Circe’s spell. Mercury was the one that helped him free his men. He told Odysseus what to do and knew exactly how Circe would act. If it was not for Mercury, Odysseus would have been turned into an animal and the men would have stayed animals forever.
- Abby

There is a god involved in this book. Mercury was the helper to the hero in this book. Odysseus received the herb that allowed him to over come the magic potion the Circe was sure to give to him. He also got show advice of how to scare Circe and how to make sure she stayed true to her word. - Mima Kaba

Mercury, a god, gives Odysseus a herb that prevents him from transforming into an animal after he drinks Circe’s potion. He also guides him how to overcome Circe’s power. He tells him what will happen after he goes to Circe and what he should do to her. If the god does not help him, he will be turned into an animal and stayed on her island forever. He, alone, will not be able to save his life and his men’s life. -L
9. Does the story remind you of any earlier adventures?
Yes, this story does remind me of an earlier adventure. Odysseus had been side-tracked from his mission on the island of the Cyclops because of his desires, which were driven by greed, causing him to investigate the cave. He did this against the advice of his men, who exhibited good judgment, for in the end many lives were lost because Odysseus refused to listen to them. While on Circe’s island, Odysseus again digresses from his mission because of his inability to control his desires. He remains on the island for one year, never thinking of continuing his voyage in pursuit of Ithaca. Therefore, it is his men who are forced to remind him that they must continue their journey. During each of these adventures, Odysseus, who is the leader, displays poor judgment, causing both him and his men to stray from their mission; however, it is his men who exhibit good judgment. -Aris Margosian

10. The story has a role reversal. Explain.
As the leader, Odysseus has been responsible for making sure that his men do not digress from their mission of returning to Ithaca. For example, while on the island of the Lotus Eaters he physically transports his men from the island to their ship, as consuming the Lotus flower has caused them to act as though they are intoxicated and thus forget about traveling home to Ithaca. However, while on Circe’s island, Odysseus seems to have lost sight of their goal of returning to Ithaca, for he is enjoying the hospitality that he is receiving and is in the midst of a relationship with Circe. It is his men who are forced to take on the responsibility as the leader and persuade him to leave the island and continue their journey in pursuit of Ithaca. -Aris Margosian

11. Does the hero elicit your sympathy?
No, Odysseus does not elicit my sympathy. I recognize that he has been forced to endure a different journey in his pursuit of Ithaca, but along the way he has made some inexcusable mistakes. Although it has been years without Penelope, she has managed to remain faithful to Odysseus under equally as difficult of circumstances. Despite the pressures of the suitors and her family, who both urge her to remarry, she has resisted the temptation, for she still believes that Odysseus is ultimately going to return home. However, Odysseus decides to generate a relationship with Circe because of his unwillingness to control his hunger for women and he never acknowledges a desire to return home or guilt for his actions. Penelope has made the honorable choice to remain faithful to Odysseus, something he refused to do for her. -Aris Margosian

12. Does he elicit your your anger?
Yes, Odysseus does elicit my anger; although the first time he sleeps with Circe, one could consider it acceptable, for it was done to rescue his men, he then continues a relationship with her for one year. He does not acknowledge any desire to return home; therefore, had his men not reminded him, he may never have taken the self-initiative and decided to continue his voyage in pursuit of Ithaca. In addition, he never expresses guilt for having entered into a relationship with another woman while married. However, Penelope, despite the pressures of many people urging her to remarry, continues to remain faithful to Odysseus, as she believes he will return home. Penelope has paused her life while waiting for his return; however, Odysseus is enjoying himself to such an extent that he does not care about how his relationship with Circe and his living on her island is impacting his wife, who is anxiously awaiting his arrival. -Aris Margosian

Yes, he does. I was not angry when he sleeps with Circe the first time, because he does it to save his men. However, he still sleeps with her, even though his men have turned back to humans. He also lives a life of comfort on her island for a whole year, while Penelope is waiting for him and deals with the suitors. Moreover, if his men do not remind him, he may stay with Circe forever. This also shows that he is not as faithful as his wife. -L

13. Are there any representations of this episode in ancient or modern art or poetry?

external image img_kirke.jpg
"Circe & Odysseus' men, Athenian red-figure pelike
C5th B.C., Staatliche Kunstammlungen, Dresden"

external image cir002.jpg
I think that this is a good picture of Circe because it looks like she has just given Odysseus the “wine” and she is surprised that Odysseus is not turning into an animal. She is caught off guard at this point and Odysseus will threaten her and she will make an offer with him to go to bed with her and then she says she will turn his men back into humans.

This is a photo of a pot that has a picture of Odysseus and Circe on it. I got this image from -L

This is the picture of Odysseus and Circe captured from the move.