The Odyssey, an epic poem written by Homer follows main protagonist Odysseus through multiple scenarios, all taking place in his journey home to Ithaca. In book twelve of The Odyssey , Odysseus speaks with Circe, a beautiful witch-goddess. Circe tells Odysseus that on his way home to Ithaca he will encounter creatures called Sirens. These Sirens are lustrous beings that lure men onto their island, only to slaughter them. Circe tells Odysseus if he wants to hear the Siren’s song, he may, though he must put beeswax in the ears of his crewmates, and tie himself down.
Circe says, “But if you plead, commanding your men to set you free, then they must lash you faster, rope on rope.” (12.59-60) This means that if Odysseus tells his men to release him, drawn by the Siren’s compelling song, his men must tie himdown more. Once Odysseus and his crew arrive at the Siren’s island, Odysseus is already wanting to hear the Siren’s song closer. His men, wax in ears, bind him tighter to the ship’s mast.
Odysseus did not have to listen to the Siren’s song, though he did. Why is this? I believe Odysseus wanted the bragging rights to ‘not falling victim to Sirens’, In The Odyssey, our main protagonist makes himself out to be a hero. He does this multiple times in different scenarios; taking risks to seem brave, even if he could avoid them.? In the (non-epic) poem, Siren Song, by Margaret Atwood, it sheds a lighter side on the malicious Sirens of The Odyssey. It also sheds a different light on Odysseus. This poem is written in the perspective of the Sirens.
This perspective shift shows you a new way to look at The Odyssey. Atwood writes about the fact that the Sirens don’t like the fact that they’re stuck singing, seducing, and slaughtering men. Atwood writes,”I will tell this secret to you, to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song is a cry for help: Help me!” This line leads me to believe that the song of the Siren is just her pleading for someone to get her off her island, but she is bound with a curse. This leads me to believe that she is singing to Odysseus. I believe that in this adaptation of a Siren’s song, it makes Odysseus out to be a bad person, leaving the Siren behind and going along, even though Odysseus does not hear what the Siren wants him to