The Odyssey by Homer

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Name the two goddesses who hold Odysseus captive in "The Odyssey". Who are the witch and the nymph who hold Odysseus captive against his will while on his travels home from the Trojan War?

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Gwen Lesch eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Odysseus is first held captive by Circe, a witch-goddess who captures the hero's crew in Aeaea and turns them into pigs. Odysseus, under the instruction of Hermes, consumes moly (an herb which will stave off the effects of Circe's drug) and wrangles Circe into submission. Circe turns the crew back into humans, and Circe and Odysseus become lovers. They stay in Aeaea for a year until the crew can finally convince Odysseus that they need to resume their journey.

The next goddess to capture Odysseus is Calypso, a nymph who imprisons Odysseus as her husband for seven years at Ogygia and enchants him with her singing. Odysseus desperately wishes to return to his wife, and with Zeus' help, Calypso is ordered to release him so that he may travel home. Calypso sends Odysseus off with a fully stocked raft, despite resenting the gods' intervention in her sexual and romantic affairs.

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Tim Mbiti eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The goddess Circe who was daughter to Helius and Perse, and Calypso who lived on Ogygia, stayed with Odysseus on their lands at different times when he was on his way to Ithaca from the Trojan War. Circe is the witch while Calypso is the nymph.

Odysseus and his men arrived at Aeaea. He sent them to explore the land where they meet Circe who turned them into swine, although one of the men escapes and informs Odysseus. Odysseus goes to rescue his men and receives help from Hermes. He succeeds, and Circe offers to take care of them, which she does for a year before she reluctantly let them go.

Odysseus is later washed ashore as the only surviving member of his crew to the island of Ogygia, where Calypso lived. Calypso holds Odysseus on the island and keeps him as her husband for seven years until Athena reminds Zeus of the situation. Zeus intervenes and Odysseus is reluctantly freed by Calypso and allowed to go back home to Ithaca.

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The goddess/witch is Circe.  She turns his men to swine and he ends up staying there for a year before he leaves.  Then the other goddess/nymph is Calypso.  She keeps him on her island for seven years.  She wants him for herself, but he longs to go home to his wife.  Zeus finally tells her that she must let him go.

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