Women In Odysseus

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In the underworld, Odysseus sees the certain ghosts of women who have either played a heroic role, or are linked to him and the story of his life in one way or the other. He sees women that satisfy three specific categories; mothers, victims and deceitful women who are meant to reinforce his mother’s encouraging words and strengthen him as he continues on his journey, and hopes to one day, get home to Ithaca and reunite with his family.
The mothers that Odysseus met included Tyro, Alcmene, Antiope, Leda, Procris, Maera, Iphimedia and Clymene. Tyro is significant as she is the mother of Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, whom Odysseus blinded, thus incurring wrath from the sea god. This is important as it shows why Poseidon holds such strong feeling
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The importance of this reference is to show the contrasting differences between heroes; whereas Thesus did not honor his word and instead used Adriadne and later left Phaedra who loved him, Odysseus was a man who was loyal to his wife and eager to return to his family. The deceitful woman whom he encountered was Epicaste; she was the mother who married her son, Oedipus, after he killed his father. The significance of this particular woman is to compare and contrast what Odysseus has in terms of family as compared to others who have gone before him. When his mother appears to him, she encourages him by telling him of the loyalty of his wife and the state of affairs of his family. Comparing the actions of his wife to those of Epicaste serves as another means of encouragement as this story depicts her as loyal and well worth risking all to get back to and be with.
In all, the lives of all these women were significant as they drew important comparisons and contrasts between either their own lives or those of their children, with that of Odysseus and that serving as an encouragement throughout the rest of his
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