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Olivia Neuman

Mrs. Dietrich

Honors 10 English

March 6, 2017

Calypsos Significance

Seduction is a powerful force that has existed since the beginning of time. Calypso was a

beautiful nymph who used her power of beauty and seduction to divert Trojan War hero

Odysseus from his goal of returning home to his wife Penelope and family in Ithaca. Calypso is a

symbol of temptation in Greek Mythology. She is known for diverting men from achieving their

goals. Calypso demonstrates one of the challenges faced by Odysseus as he tries to find his way

home. Her significance as a powerful seductive force in Greek Mythology and in the epic poem

The Odyssey is obvious because she was able to captivate a determined leader for seven years on

her own island and despite his professed love for his wife, he had two children with Calypso.

Calypso was a beautiful nymph in Greek Mythology, gifted with the power of

immortality. She was often described as Goddess of strange power and beauty whose divine

parentage allowed her to offer the gift of immortality (Aularie, 250). Calypso lived alone on the

luxurious and isolated island of Ogygia. The Island of Ogygia was like living in paradise Thick,

luxuriant woods, springs bubbling clear and cold, soft meadows spreading round were starred

with violets, lush with beds of parsley. A place of gaze and wonder entranced with pleasure

(Homer, 82). Soon after Odysseus escapes Scylla, an uncontrollable monster, he sails at sea for
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nine days until he gets shipwrecked on the island of Ogygia. When Calypso sees Odysseus she

wants to make him her immortal husband. Her ladyship Calypso clung to him in her sea-

hollowed caves -a nymph, immortal and most beautiful, who craved him for her own.(Homer,

14). Calypso lures Odysseus in by singing to him and tempting him with her beauty and

irrespirable voice. In Greek Mythology, Calypsos name means to conceal or to deceive

which is fitting in the context of The Odyssey because Calypso uses her sexuality to trick

Odysseus or to distract his attention from his goal to return to his wife Penelope. (Napoli, 442).

For seven long years, Calypso is able to provide Odysseus with a nurturing and serene

environment where he could recover and relax from the brutality of war. Initially, their life

together was a welcomed change for Odysseus because of the stress and trauma he faced in

battle. Odysseus was using his time on Calypsos Island to rebuild himself as a leader and to

relax from his journey. However, Calypso was very possessive of Odysseus and used her power

of beauty and seduction to preoccupy his mind. She loved the war hero so much that she

promised him eternal youth and immortality if he would remain with her. Calypso would

regularly tell her lover, Odysseus Stay with me, and thou shalt never grow old and never die.

(Balit, Greek Mythology). For the majority of the time, Odysseus remained content and forgot

about returning home, but he would encounter short times of his own deep feeling of loneliness

due to missing his wife. But Calypso still did everything in her power to make Odysseus forget

about his goal to return to Ithaca. She eventually made Odysseus forget he was in a committed

relationship and provided him with an extravagant daily life filled with sensory enjoyment. The

lush environment and the lure of immortality entrapped Odysseus and he began to love Calypso.
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Calypso appeared to be successful in her quest to create a life with Odysseus. She tried to

provide him with everything he could possibly want to be happy. On his time on the island,

Odysseus agreed to have an affair with Calypso due to lust and her physical beauty. She even

bore two children by him, Nausithous and Nausinous (Aulaire, 455). The goddess held

Odysseus for sex, By nights he would lie besides her, in the hollow caverns, against his will, by

one who is willing. (Homer, 158). Over time, Calypsos power began to fade and Odysseus

started to resist Calypsos seduction and temptation. Odysseus continued to long for his wife and

dream about returning to Ithaca. He spent days crying and begging the other gods to do

something. Despite Odysseus sadness, Calypso stayed in denial because she loved him so much

and continued to try and seduce him.

Odysseus, who had always wanted to return home, began to contemplate returning to

Penelope. He decided that he could no longer bear to be away from his wife, but he did not know

how to tell Calypso. Odysseus cried out for help and his patron goddess, Athena, asked Zeus to

permit Odysseus release from Ogygia. Zeus granted Athenas request and ordered Hermes, the

messenger, to tell Calypso that she must set Odysseus free. At first, Calypso became bitter and

angry, but she knew she must let him go. She eventually respected Odysseuss decision, but still

tried to convince him to stay but if you only knew in your own heart how many hardships you

were fated to undergo before getting back to your country, you would stay here with me and be

the lord of this household and be an immortal. (Homer, 209). Calypso came to terms with

Odysseuss choice and did more than let him go; she provided him with a sturdy raft, food and

wine for the journey, and favorable winds, so he could safely return home. Soon after Odysseus

left her island, Calypso became very depressed. From her point of view, she believed that she
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saved Odysseus and provided him with a new life. I loved him excessively and put

entertainment before him. (Homer, 258). Calypso desperately missed her lover of seven years

and did not know what to do without him. Calypso became so sad that she wanted to commit

suicide. But being immortal, the suicide attempts failed (Napoli, 528). She therefore experienced

severe emotional pain and suffering.

Calypso was a nymph who seduced a strong and determined war hero. In Greek

Mythology, Calypso is a symbol of distraction, temptation and diversion. Without her, there

would have been less of an obstacle for Odysseus to overcome on his journey home. Greek

Mythology is all about testing ones strength. (Balit, Greek Myths).

Without obstacles and challenges Odysseus wouldnt have grown in character.

Encountering Calypso in the epic poem The Odyssey made Odysseus a better-rounded man. He

was a stronger-willed leader who had been hardened by war and the loss of his fellow soldiers.

His time with Calypso changed him. She is significant in Greek Mythology because she

represents temptation and challenges the will and determination of men she encounters. Most

men never make it off of her island, but Odysseus did. He eventually overcame her beauty and

charm and re-focused on his goal of returning home to his family. During the majority of the

time Odysseus spent on the island, he was influenced by the power of seduction and lust. For

seven years Calypso held Odysseus attention and despite his professed love for his wife.

Odysseus enjoyed the affair at first, but slowly grew weary of Calypsos charms and renewed his

desire to return home. When Odysseus expressed his desire to return home, Calypso eventually
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helped him by providing him with all of the necessary supplies and conditions he would require

for his journey home. Calypso did this because she loved Odysseus dearly. She let him return

home knowing the consequences of emotional destress she would face. Her involvement with

Odysseus proves that true love conquered the power of seduction. Odysseuss love for Penelope

and Calypsos love for Odysseus, which allowed her to let him go, were stronger than physical

beauty and physical attraction. So even though seduction proves to be an age-old, powerful

force in this world, love can triumph and prevail.