The Will Of Odysseus In Homer's The Odyssey

1189 Words5 Pages
In Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus experiences a powerful craving on his journey home. He must pass the island of the Sirens in order to return home but also must avoid landing there; doing so would mean certain death for him and his crew. Although he cannot control his impulses in the moment, Circe’s keen advice beforehand and his crew’s steadfastness save Odysseus from his own desire. In looking at The Odyssey, we will consider Circe’s directions to Odysseus and the way the Sirens and Odysseus act at their meeting to find that Odysseus cannot control his appetite and needs specific guidelines, in this case from Circe, to survive a life-or-death situation. Circe’s advice to Odysseus prior to his journey is the one thing that stands between…show more content…
Odysseus leaves Aeaea and eventually arrives at the Sirens’ island. He follows Circe’s commands and stuffs his men’s ears with beeswax, and he ties himself to the mast. As Odysseus’ vessel rushes toward them, “the Sirens sensed at once a ship / was racing past and burst into their high, thrilling song: / ‘Come closer, famous Odysseus—Achaea’s pride and glory— moor your ship on our coast so you can hear our song![’]” (277). The Sirens can tell that a ship is arriving “at once;” they quickly organize and begin to sing. This implies that they have gone through this many times before, just as Circe had claimed. They know that this ship is “racing past,” with knowledge of their schemes, as otherwise Odysseus’ vessel would have been going by at normal speed. They realize that they must act quickly in order to capitalize on the sailors’ desire for their song. They address “famous Odysseus – Achaea’s pride and glory.” They know that Odysseus likes to hear and talk about himself and play to that. They do not ask but order him to “moor your ship on our coast.” They try to convince him that landing at their island is inevitable – he may as well do so now and hear their song. The Sirens continue to press, saying that should Odysseus dock his ship, he “can hear our song.” What they have been singing up until this point was only a taste of what Odysseus could hear if he were willing to stay on their island. This feeling that there is more to come is a method of enticement that the Sirens employ in order to sway Odysseus to land on their island. The Sirens, an enemy that knows Odysseus’ every weakness, holds immense sway over him due to his
Open Document