Divine Femininity or Femme Fatale: Exploring the Roles of Women in The Odyssey

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Pei Xuan Chia


This paper explores and compares the representation of Circe and Penelope — Circe as an obstacle to Odysseus’ journey and Penelope as the “appropriate” Homeric wife. Odysseus’ journey in The Odyssey is a literal and metaphorical journey to reclaim his patriarchal title as King of Ithaca. He reinforces these roles across his journey, especially toward “wayward” or nonconforming women like Circe. By analyzing the portrayals of Circe and Penelope, I hope to reveal the ways Homer presents dissenting, feminine voices in patriarchal Homeric society.

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Fourth Year+ Category (90+ credits, including Honours)