Who is Circe in The Odyssey by Homer?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Circe is a female character in The Odyssey by Homer who serves as one of the obstacles encountered by Odysseus is his efforts to return home to Ithaca and to his wife Penelope. 

Circe is portrayed as a minor goddess and sorceress. She was the daughter of the sun god Helios, and Perse, one of the Oceanids, a group of water and sea nymphs that are among the Titans, the group of gods preceding the Olympians.

When a group of Odysseus' men encounter Circe, she offers them food, but adds to it a magical potion that turns them into animals. Eurylochus, Odysseus' second in command, suspects something is amiss, and escapes to warn Odysseus. The god Hermes helps Odysseus by explaining the the herb "moly" will protect against the transformation.

After the initial encounter, Odysseus and his men stay with Circe for approximately a year, feasting and enjoying her hospitality. Eventually she provides helpful information on the best sea route to take for the rest of their voyage. 

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