In Greek Mythology, women were either very fierce or very weak. Women were usually defined by wits, beauty, or bad deeds. In The Odyssey women were not in the background. On the contrary, women were powerful. They charmed and controlled men, provided wisdom, and took care of them. The Odyssey appears to be strongly female based. Penelope is the wife of Odysseus who is the king of Ithaca. When Odysseus is called off to the Trojan War Penelope shows great faithfulness and wit. She stays faithful to her husband and waits for him for twenty years.
This shows strong internal will and love for only one man, her husband, Odysseus. During this time, many different suitors tried to court her and offered marriage proposals. She shows great wit by prolonging the time needed to find a new suitor. “… she has been deluding the wits of a whole nation. Hopes for all, promises for every man by special messenger- and what she means is quite different. ” (Homer, 1994-2009) She fools wanting suitors by pretending to weave a burial shroud for Odysseus’s elderly father. She says that she will choose a suitor when she is finished.
Every night for three years she undoes part of the shroud. One of the female maids finds this out and tells. The action of the maid showed how bad deeds of women can change the instance of what is going on. When Odysseus came home he posed as a beggar Penelope again shows her strong wits by not falling right to him. She says that she will court with the one who can string Odysseus’s bow and shoot through twelve axe shafts. Obviously, Odysseus is the only one with the skill to do that. She then is still on guard.
This again shows that she, as a woman, as intelligence that she still has her guard up, which she should. However, when the bed is ordered to be moved to the wedding chamber and Odysseus says that he knows it cannot be moved. She then has all the information she needs to believe that Odysseus is who he says he is. Calypso and Circe are known more for their bad deeds. They are known as being temptresses. Instead of strength they use the allure of their beauty to get what they want. When Odysseus and his men come to their island Calypso, first, uses her beauty to captivate him and keep him with her.
She wanted him to stay with him and be an immortal husband to her. She was ordered to release him and she eventually did. However, Circe wanted Odysseus for herself. She lured Odysseus and his men with her beauty, she then poisoned them and kept Odysseus for herself. He gave in to the temptation. “So she spoke to them, and the rest gave voice, and called her and at once she opened the shining doors, and came out, and invited them in, and all in their innocence entered; only Eurylochos waited outside, for he suspected treachery.
She brought them inside and seated them on chairs and benches, and mixed them a potion, with barley and cheese and pale honey added to Pramneian wine, but put into the mixture malignant drugs, to make them forgetful of their own country. When she had given them this and they had drunk it down, next thing she struck them with her wand and drove them into her pig pens, and they took on the look of pigs, with the heads and voices and bristles of pigs, but the minds within them stayed as they had been before. ” (Homer, 1994-2009) There are many more women in The Odyssey.
They all play a strong roll of strong wit, beauty, or wrong doings. Some of the women even posses all of these traits. The Odyssey can actually be looked to be a story based strongly on what the women say or do. They pretty much dictate how the epic goes. If it weren’t for Helen, maybe Odysseus would have never left, or if it was not for Calypso and Circe, Odysseus would not have give in to strong temptation, and if it were not for Athena, Odysseus may have never made it home. All in all, The Odyssey shows great strength and weakness in between men and woman, and the connection they may or may not have together.