Homer's Women | Sexual Fables
Odysseus; Calypso; Circe; Nausicaa; Penelope; The Passion of the Christ . Or was it that the thread she wove -- the myth of the perfect relationship, the perfect. Xenia is the Greek relationship between two people from different regions. . Calypso, a fair goddess, had wanted to keep Odysseus in her cavern as her . This image shoes the scene for The Odyssey where Odysseus meets nausicaa. The problem here is not with Calypso—Odysseus concedes her beauty above all . albeit after seven years, can he reject the nubile (Penelope-like) Nausicaa, and furthermore, might be seen as “a different and renewed relationship to soul ”.
This was only because Hermes, sneakiest of the gods, gave him an antidote to her drugs and no doubt some precise instructions on a seduction sequence that would appeal to her. The antidote turned out to be moly, a small herb black at the root but with a milky flower garlic, speculate the scholars. Circe liked a natural man, an earthy man, a man who was a match for a fertility goddess. She lived in an open plan house of well polished stone and shiny doors surrounded by forest and she could charm wild animals -- the wolves, the lions who lived on her island -- and so too she charmed Odysseus.
Into her arms came this rugged handsome fellow, his hairy chest guarded by those piercing eyes. He was wiry and weather-beaten, like a hunter, hard, tangible, scented. Her erotica must have a touch of the perverse and she made love that way. In her terrific bed he learned of the future frights he would encounter with similarly dangerous feminine figures: Men must learn to hate themselves before they can love women.
Odysseus went along with it for a whole year and it was only when his crew became impatient that he agreed to leave.Calypso's Memories
But it was modernist writers such as James Joyce and Ezra Pound who fully embraced her. Circe puts in an appearance as Bella Cohen, mistress of the local whorehouse, helping Bloom get in touch with his feminine side and satisfying his longing for punishment by turning him first into a woman and then into a pig! Only through ritual humiliation and castration can Bloom emerge out the other side purified and ready to go back to his wife.
Why he needed to go through all this and why he needed to be Jewish, we will never know, but it seems to have been important to Joyce. Ironically, Ulysses was published originally by two women the American Sylvia Beach and her partner Adrienne Monnierwho launched it in France, in the English language no less, in They succeeded where another woman in England and two women in the United States had already tried and failed.
Beach got no satisfaction for her pains; Joyce took the money and ran. But why should she have been surprised? The lessons were there in the novel. She was his compromise halfway between those flirtatious bitches the Sirens and the unattainable goddesses Aphrodite and Athena.
Circe represented the sensual world, she was seduction, she was the sexual act itself. So again Odysseus takes center stage: Feminist writers eventually came to rescue Circe, and if Penelope is their choice today, Circe was their favorite in the early fifties, particularly for Southern women writers.
A fifties housewife, she has discovered feminism and is just waiting to take flight. Resentful at being tied to her island, she wishes she could be a wanderer like Odysseus: I believed that I lay in disgrace and my blood ran green, like the wand that breaks in two. My sights returned to me when I awoke in the pigsty, in the red and black aurora of flesh, and it was day. For this she was rightly dreaded and feared; her very name was a word of terror.
How dare he act cold and aloof in bed when she is tender and loving. How dare his men complain to him behind her back about how bored they are on her island. They are lucky to get fed at all! If Circe enjoys superiority over the weakness of men, it is not in an arrogant or egocentric way; it is simply that she is smarter than they are.
One day, will Odysseus see that and will he be back, alone? Several were washing clothes nearby when Odysseus appeared out of the bushes with no clothes on.
Just an olive branch held discreetly in front of the embarrassing parts. It must be quite difficult to listen to a naked man and take him seriously, but Nausicaa was nothing if not modern. But they fled the moment the olive branch slipped a bit. Was he the One? Nausicaa arranges for Odysseus to go into town to meet her parents, the king and queen, where he can tell his story for posterity and she says she will follow.
No need to feed the gossips by going together. When Odysseus washed up there on her island of Scheria, here was an opportunity to be had. Did she miss it? Should she have invited Odysseus to stay with her?
This also encouraged Robert Graves to expand on it in his novel Homer's Daughter Other male translators have confessed their love for her in suitably extravagant terms -- Japanese animation genius Hayao Miyazaki takes her name for one of his heroines.
What is a girl to do? Would Nausicaa have preferred being given credit for seducing Odysseus or for having authored the Odyssey? But the thread being woven here is the one that is not being woven: Nausicaa never weaves a story herself. She is still young, unmarried, tabula rasa for an old married guy like Odysseus and maybe she never could have worked out as a marriage partner for him. One imagines that if she had indeed written the Odyssey, she would have written herself a bigger and better part.
She would have developed it as a subtly erotic encounter between a man who was nostalgic for his lost past and a young woman looking for a real man. It would not have been filled with vulgar sex, Circe style, but with suitably romantic scenes between two lovers who deeply respect one another. Sure, he would have been attracted to her but could it have lasted?
Bloom is grateful for her helping him feel like a man again. It is half way to Ithaka without any unpleasant complications such as suitors or an unfaithful wife. It is full of peace and plenty. She is, you might say, a very clever final temptation.
It should have appealed to a middle aged man who sought to be rejuvenated by a younger woman. So why didn't it work? Because Odysseus wanted more than what a beautiful young woman wanted for him? Lawrence was one of the many translators of the Odyssey. So self-conscious was he about being the 28th to try his hand at it that he used a pseudonym, T.
What did that old misogynist see in the Odyssey that he wanted to translate it? Did he like the theme of the wanderer and worry about the fate of manly freedom in a world of feminine distractions, the kind that were pressing in upon Lawrence in the aftermath of World War I.
Disgusted by the domestic bliss that ends the Odyssey, he thought it a major anticlimax. He never thought through the situation, however, to refashion the story so that it arrived at a different conclusion. He was a traditionalist at heart. What if Lawrence had been attracted to women?
Could he have matched Odysseus up with any of the women he met along the way -- the sea witch Circe, the lonely goddess Calypso, the maiden Nausicaa -- or was Odysseus always destined to return to his long-suffering wife Penelope? Were these women, including Penelope, merely femme fatales designed to tempt the hero away from the ways of the world back to the domestic life, to being no more than a good husband?
Were they lustful and seductive, overly controlling, seeking to entrap our hero? Is entanglement just another way of saying fear of commitment? Tell her part of it, but let the rest be silence. The Odyssey is about more than just the return to house and hearth. The Odyssey is about rebirth and the search for a new identity but it is also about loyalty. Now that he is middle aged, whom should he spend it with second time around if we were to give him that chance? What was it Odysseus wanted?
What do men want? It would seem that Odysseus chose Penelope, his wife. It was all right at the beginning, but once Troy fell she had expected him home. As the years passed, the news stopped coming.
She did a lot of crying. She could fairly accuse him of desertion. Would any woman wait as long as she did? True, there were distinct advantages to being single, to being a widow. She was still comfortably well off, which made her a desirable catch for the suitors and at least she had a choice. She was flattered by the attentions of so many good-looking young men. In fact, this is what Antinous accused her of in public -- that she enjoyed it -- and this was true for a few years at the beginning.
She had to adopt delaying tactics but she would never give in and choose one of the suitors because that would have brought the reasonably pleasant situation she was in to an abrupt end. And, she would have found Odysseus on her doorstep the next day! She also knew the other suitors and townspeople would criticize her the moment she chose anyone. Penelope wove her web during the day and unraveled it at night.
Repression equals silence, as they say. Her quest stands for the refusal of the violence that inhabits the men. Women will stop weaving only when the violence ends. Penelope chose to resist, weaving just the one story, a story that excluded the suitors. So she kept delaying even after Odysseus came back because she wanted to explore her own ambivalence about his return.
Did she even want him back? He was in disguise but she recognized him immediately, even though the Odyssey is vague on this point. At the very least she wanted him to demonstrate to her that he was the same man, and perhaps also that she was the same woman.
So she checked his memories, she insisted he shave and bathe, and she measured his performance in bed. She only agreed to recognize him after she had looked at his scar in that very private place. She handled this situation well and the characters of the Odyssey considered her wise. In the end the gods had their own plans for them. How do we help our young soldiers re-enter their cities that have continued on without them, and in some cases, like the suitors in the house of Odysseus, seem to have grown fat on borrowed meat and wine?
If we can learn anything from epic literature, it is that our warriors need help in this transitioning process, but how in actuality does this happen? The danger is how we sentence ourselves into the world, and more dangerous still that is, on the figurative and, therefore, the psychological level is to become fixated, like Narcissus, on the reflection of any one particular predicate or predicament. And yet nowhere is this interplay of subject and predicate more tenuous than in the moment of arrival.
Odysseus will have to learn to balance the two sides of his nature, should he see home, and here Homer employs a rare, sustained simile: Metaphors, therefore, within similes, and out of myth and into fairytale—but why, or for what purpose?
Rather than run after Nausicaa and her maidens, he steps out of the brush and wonders—ponders, according to Silk—and even if momentarily then, Odysseus is, and, therefore, is not simply warrior. Only because he has rejected Calypso, furthermore, albeit after seven years, can he reject the nubile Penelope-like Nausicaa, and step into another tale-type.
No longer the human subject with divine lover, here we enter folk terrain of the battered beggar on the road to reclaim his throne. The frog does turn into a prince, and sometimes quicker than we imagine, but to keep his prince-like nature requires him to remain faithful to the goal, a struggle that is accomplished with the help of Athena, as an is figure herself.
Nausicaa - Wikipedia
Plundering, yes, but not pausing, pondering. These latter traits are that of the wise ruler. He is operating under the guidance of Athena, his patron goddess, with insight, and only, once again, because he is able to cut the umbilical cord and recognize mortality as his true reward, can he stay focused on his goal: There is yet something else that might give us further clue to his ponderous nature: His wound, however, has scarred, meaning closed, shut, sealed.
Only while staring at the princess does the wound, at least psychically—reopen. Language captivates and creates culture. Out of story, and into image, out of sentence and into sentience, or out of transience and into transparency. I am naked, I stand before you, I am scarred.
From out of the psychic conception made possible by the sense-making of metaphor, Odysseus begins to birth his new role in the stories he tells the Phaeacians. Most remarkably then will be the divulgence of his name. But why reveal his true nature, and name, at this point in the epic, when up until now, his cunning and deceit have served him well?
Some of this no doubt has to do with his relationship to the god himself. Why does Poseidon hate Odysseus? Does Poseidon really hate him for this act alone? The gods—especially if we might also see gods as psychic energies represented best by the figurative sense, through metaphor —respond to our language. Odysseus is much suffering, a choice of the old warrior code, wounded and wounder.