The article Character of Circle in the Odyssey

McClymont, J.D., from the University of Zimbabwe, wrote the article Character of Circle in the Odyssey. The Circle is an important character in Homer's poem Odyssey, serving as a heroic figure dreaded by men. As we can see from Perkin's Discourse, she is doing ordinary witchcraft by transforming humans into animals. She represents the tone of ancient Greek women who have been sexually assaulted. McClymont, on the other hand, claims to have positive qualities when examined in detail. Circle, for example, has been shown as "golden," as the daughter of the sun deity.Also, it is worth noting the Odyssey’s journey to Aeaea where he met Circle that changed all his men to animals (McClymont 23). In the article the author, McClymont tries to discuss various roles played by Circle in Homer’s poem (Odyssey) to help bring to develop themes such as religion, and traditional beliefs in with crafty. McClymont, thematic concern lies in the showing the significance of women in the war like the one Odyssey fought. Therefore, to understand Circle, we will need to consider many factors such where the hero dwells, the struggle for women in the ancient Greek, we need to look at the role of men in the civilized world among others.

Symbolically, Circles seems to have originated from the Indo-European world, that is, before the East separate from the West. Homer must have combined different stories influenced by bronze, Lyrics and Dark Ages to come up with the beautiful piece of Odyssey. It is Circle that creates a link between Greek mythology and witchcraft. McClymont narrates that Circle is not a born human being rather, she was set up from the pieces of imported amulets and images probably from Palestine, Syria or Mesopotamia joined to give her life. The interaction from the Greece and the Eastern rose due to the trade of near cylinder that were manufactured in the BC and sold to places such as Greece. The engravers of the cylinders and gems used magical formulae and prayers to connect the joints thus believed to bring life (McClymont 24). Consequently, the life of Circle substantially dwells from the magic and supernatural powers. The emphasized the power of magician to provide life as opposed to religion.

Circle’s goddess powers frighten men. Just as a male of animals would command and controls the disorderly beasts across the desert, Circle too had the powers to control dangerous animals by word of mouth. McClymont highlights the ordeal where the Odyssey’s men responded to the Circle’s invitation thus being metamorphosed into domestic pigs illustrates the power of the goddess. On the other hand, she assists and defends Odyssey and his crew during the war. The Mistress of the wild animals uses her beauty to seduce and change men into animals who she uses to fulfill her sexual desires. Like in the case of Odyssey’s crew, she proves helpful in the provision of advices and interpretation of war sirens in the Underworld (McClymont 25-6). The epitome of sexuality and naked women available in the vase paintings portray the Ancient Eastern figures of women and weapons. It is explicit that Circle cares and protects Odysseus just like the amulets protected people from evil things.

Character Circle double crosses the Calypso who is another major character in the poem. McClymont points out the difference from the two despite belonging to the same tradition. Luckily, they are both prophetic goddess who can foresee the future and that is why Odyssey religiously obeys and follows Circles instructions while proceeding to the Underworld. Calypso and Circle both live in the same surrounding region. Furthermore, they share the behavior of cruelty and bravery. Although Circle solely owns the power to transform people into animals, Calypso does not share the same. Geographically, Calypso lives in the remote West of the island, while Circle lives in the Far East of the same Highland. Circle leadership originates from the guiding the hero to the Underworld. Besides, she leads groups of wild animals and crew of the Odyssey to win the war.

McClymont describes the Circle as beautiful and terrible simultaneously. She is stunning elegant when she dresses in lovely clothes. She uses her beauty to deceive the Odyssey’s crew to honor her invitation but brutally transforms them into domesticated pigs. Her voice and movements seem so gentle that men easily fell in love. However, when she is troubled, she becomes very irrational and cruel exposing all the evils and badness. Nonetheless, she is not as bad all through, McClymont denotes, she uses her inherent beauty and generosity to help the Odyssey and the crew to navigate successfully in the Underworld. Her behavior contradicts the desire for the hero al through the article. She is a representation of the prostitution and sexual seduction. She is dangerous goddess capable of defying protocol rules of the society using her powers to satisfy her sexual desires.

The primary concern of McClymont is how the Circle has been portrayed as a negative character. More precisely the disposition of the female gender in the Ancient Greek describes women as answerable to men. Despite the fact that Circle is evil she is not a portrait of the famous witch. McClymont argues that maybe the negative concept had not defined well or the idea of the witch was introduced after the Circle. The facts do not come clear on the categorization of women and men magic. More often, the women are considered as inferior being in the Ancient Greek. This should not give people the chance to repress women as to hold the position in the society. McClymont defends women claiming that they are always irrational especially when dominated by men. In earlier periods, women have been related to functions such as engendering, breastfeeding and bringing up children whereas men were concerned about maintaining the societal values (McClymont 27). Women are connected with irrational subjectivity and on the natural goddess powers that would be disastrous. Hermes warns about having sex with the goddess as it would make him impotence and weak. The society underrates women’s goodwill even when trying to offer support.


In my opinion, the analysis of the character Circle enlightens us of the significance participation of character in developing poetry. However much the poem, Odyssey portrays Circle in the negative ways, McClymont tries to shed light on the positive contribution in the society. Through the article, we can vividly trace the origin of Magic in the Ancient Greek and therefore separate the mischievous opinions against women in general.


In summary, the Character Circle by McClymont provides a better ground for understanding Homer’s message in the role of women in the struggle for the throne in the Ancient Greek. Circle behaves mysteriously but aims at representing the female gender. For instance, the latter describes Circle as beautiful and evil. Empirically, the evil started in the Ancient Greek probably before the creation of Circle. Her birth into the world to indicates that she is not the sole driver of magic in the poem. McClymont argues that maybe the characteristics of Circle had not well been defined. In many occasions, she helps Odyssey and troop walk through the Underworld hence winning the battle. However, her sexual desires make her misuse the goddess powers to transform men into animals for easy sexual harrassment. Therefore, considering the both the negative and the positive deeds of the Circle regardless of nature or magic, I would think her a breathtaking, helpful and supportive character in the article. She is the foundation of the Odyssey’s win in the battle.

Work Cited

McClymont, J. D. "The character of Circe in the Odyssey." Akroterion 53.1 (2008): 21-29. Accessed on 14/04/2017.

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