Circe is the goddess of magic and the most similar female to her encountered by Odysseus is Calypso, a nymph. These two goddesses have both had affairs with Odysseus and are similar in that Circe is a beautiful goddess/witch and Calypso is a beautiful goddess/nymph but they contrast in their motives toward and treatment of Odysseus. After Odysseus (following Hermes' advice) initially conquers Circe, she does everything she can to help him. In addition to releasing the spell that turned his men into swine, she shows excellent xenia to Odysseus that his men must talk him into going on with the journey a full year later. Even then, Circe helps the Odysseus and his men with supplies and advice.
Calypso holds Odysseus captive for seven years in hopes of marrying him. When he resists and is saved by Hermes ...view middle of the document...
However, Athena lives on Mount Olympus as she is an important goddess and cannot be overpowered whereas Circe lives alone and has to be manipulating and use her magic just to have company.
Calypso, Circe and Athena are all important female characters and are similar because they are all goddesses. Both Circe and Calypso live alone on an island in addition to both sleeping with Odysseus. However, Circe is manipulating and malicious in a way that Calypso is not as Calypso is genuinely affectionate of Odysseus.
Nausicaa is presented as a potential love interest for Odysseus. She says to her friends that she would like her husband to be like him and her father tells Odysseus he would let him marry her, however, nothing ever happens between them.
Nausicaa is similar to Circe because they are both considered confident and beautiful and they both show Odysseus good xenia and help him with supplies so he can make his way home to Ithica. However, Nausicaa is a mortal and Circe is a goddess.
Penelope is the faithful wife of Odysseus. Just like Circe she is deceptive and keeps the suitors at bay during Odysseus’ long absence by weaving a shroud, claiming it was for the eventual funeral of Laertes. She claimed that she would choose a husband as soon as the shroud was completed. During the day she worked on a loom and at night she secretly unraveled what she had done, deceiving the suitors. Penelope is different to Circe as she is not a goddess and is also loyal and faithful to her husband Odysseus.
Overall, Circe is more manipulating and malicious than other female characters encountered by Odysseus, but is similar to Athena and Nausicaa as they all help Odysseus on his journey home eventually, even though both Calypso and Circe seduce Odysseus and he stays with each of them for a time. Also, Circe is deceptive just like Penelope with her loom trick.