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Women In The Odyssey By Homer

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The Odyssey by Homer encompasses a rather modern idea of women and their role for its time. Homer portrays women as creatures who are strong but are ultimately defeated. It is true that in most stories they are portrayed as being weaker, but the women in this poem are oddly strong or have a very strong presence. The three main examples are Calypso, Athena, and the Lotus Flower. Each of these examples has a predominant presence in The Odyssey making them sturdy objects.

At first the goddess Calypso presents a strong force in the very beginning of the poem. "Calypso, Atlas's daughter, keeps the sad Odysseus" (Book I) "in her grotto" (Book V). The "godlike Odysseus" is the source of the masculine power in this book and for him to be held against his will is a statement that men are not omnipotent in the world; evermore of a statement is the fact that he is held by a woman, the inferior gender. The reason that The Odyssey is a masculine power story and not a feminine is because eventually, Calypso is forced to relinquish Odysseus under the orders of the god Zeus. Hermes, the messenger god, reports to Calypso "ZeusÐ'...[said]Ð'...his [Odysseus's] fate is not to die here, far from friends" (Book V). Upon this news, Calypso releases control of Odysseus to return home to Ithaca.

Another female who represents overpowering feminine power is Athena. At first, Athena is the one who convinces Zeus to set free Odysseus from Calypso's grasp. "AthenaÐ'...answered ZeusÐ'... Ð''But brave Odysseus' fate does break my heartÐ'...are you Olympus' lord not moved my this?'" (Book I) Here, Athena is rivaling the king of Olympus, Zeus, by appealing to his compassionate side. What must be understood is that it is Zeus who caused Odysseus to land on the island after Zeus punished Odysseus' men for eating some of Helios, the sun god's, sacred cattle. For Zeus to sway in decision presents the concept that men are not always sure in themselves as someone in power is supposed to be. The fact that Athena causes this shift in belief signifies that she, as a woman, has a wealth of power. However, like with Calypso, Athena does not have ultimate power. If she did, she would have been the one to deliver the orders to Calypso or the one to



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