Odysseus’ first encounter with the nymph, Circe, tests his unfaithfulness as a husband. Odysseus, still early in his Journey, knows as he enters her cave that he will have to sleep with the crafty witch in order to defeat her. When he enters Circle’s bedroom he shows no guilt for what he is doing, but actually an eagerness to be with the nymph. “-and when she’d finished, then, at last, I mounted Circle’s gorgeous bed ” (10:85-86). Odysseus’ willingness to sleep with the nymph shows an immaturity of a young and eager man who enjoys his power and uses It for his own physical pleasure.
As Odysseus continues on his Journey home, he next encounters the split of his mother. When he realizes she is dead, Odysseus Is filled with guilt and realizes how long he has been gone from the people of his homeland. “My mother, dead and gone knows] whom I had left alive when I sailed for scared Trot'(11 :94-96). This realization is a turning point where Odysseus begins to think of others and not solely himself or his own personal gain. Next, Odysseus has to physically overcome two treacherous monsters, both of which are women, in order to get to in the island of Thracian.
Through these endeavors Odysseus must prove himself as a leader to his fearful men as they try to combat both Scylla and Charladies. For a brief moment Odysseus regresses to his former selfish ways and Ignores the advice of Circe. “But now I cleared my mind of Circle’s orders-cramping my style, urging my not to arm at 2:45-46). This short return to Odysseus’ former self proves fatal to the lives of his crew members, whom he watches die before his eyes. “Of all the pitiful things I’ve had to witness]this wretched my heart the 2:280-282). This event proves to be important for
Odysseus because he realizes that his own selfish pride causes him to make the wrong decision and sacrifices the lives of his men. As his long Journey continues, Odysseus meets the Goddess Calypso, who forces him to stay on her island. Although he does continually sleep with the Goddess, Odysseus’ intentions are quite different than they were with Circe. He is forced to be with Calypso because she is taking care of him, but Odysseus has no desire to stay on the island. “In the nights, true, he’d sleep with her In the arching cave-he had no hat he owes his life to Calypso, but he never forgets his wife, Penelope, or his homeland.
He turns down the opportunity to become a God and live forever with the beautiful Goddess and continually longs to be home with his wife. “Look at my wise Penelope. Seen Tall Tar snort AT you, you, your Duty, stature . Seen Is mortal rater al and you, you never age or died Nevertheless I long-I pine, all my days-to travel home and see the dawn of my return”(5:239-243). This longing for home and his wife is a major landmark in Odysseus’ life. He knowledgeably refuses Calypso offer, knowing that his true place and duty is at home.
After leaving Calypso’s island, Odysseus travels to the land of the Physicians where he meets the princess Unmusical. In this encounter, the king of Physician offers Odysseus his daughter as a bride. “Ahoy could wed my daughter and be my son-in- law and stay right here with us. I’d give you a house and great Although Odysseus has this opportunity to marry the young and beautiful Unmusical, he does not even hesitate in his decision to leave immediately and head for home. This shows how Odysseus has grown throughout his Journey and is no longer tempted by superficial things.
When Odysseus finally reaches his homeland, he comes in contact with one of the most important women in his life, the Goddess Athena, who has been his guide throughout his long Journey. She respects Odysseus for his intelligence and his wits. “Here among mortal men you’re far the best at tactics, spinning yarns, and I am famous among the gods for wisdom, cunning wiles, During his adventures, Athena tests Odysseus’ abilities as a warrior and as a husband, giving IM help as well as obstacles to prepare for his homecoming at Troy.
Through these trials Athena makes it her goal to help Odysseus mature and grow to realize that his true place is at home with his faithful wife. His final and most important encounter is with his wife Penelope, who has served as a beacon of hope for Odysseus. Throughout his Journey, the thought of her is enough to send Odysseus home even when better offers from Goddesses, nymphs, and beautiful princesses try to hold him back. “True enough, Calypso the lustrous dodoes tried to hold me back, deep in her arching caverns, craving me for a husband.
So did Circe, holding me Just as warmly in her halls, the bewitching queen of EAI keen to have me too. But they never won the heart inside me, never. So nothing is as sweet as a man’s own country, his own parents, even though he’s settled down in some luxurious house, off in a foreign land and far from those who bore him”(9:33-41). By the end of his Journey, Odysseus recognizes the importance of love through Penelope long and continuous devotion, and realizes that his feelings awards the other women in the past were only physical attractions.
Odysseus overcomes the confrontations with many women throughout his adventures and returns home to Ithaca a changed man. These physical and mental victories against beasts as well as goddesses force Odysseus to grow and mature from the time he leaves for Troy to the time he reaches his home at Ithaca. His odyssey as much an inward Journey as it is a physical one. The challenges he faces, often represented by women, serve as steps in this long process towards greater maturity and self- understanding.