"safe past the Siren Isle"
by cm
Odysseus and the Sirens. Detail from an Attic red-figured stamnos, c480BC
Public DomainOdysseus and the Sirens. Detail from an Attic red-figured stamnos, c480BC - Credit: Jastrow

In Greek mythology the Sirens were hybrid creatures -- part woman, part bird -- who lured sailors with their beautiful, seductive song to shipwreck on their island. Consequently, sirens have become associated with dangerous temptation.

In Homer's Odyssey the sailors are able to escape the siren-song by plugging their ears with beeswax. All except for Odysseus, who is tied to the ship's mast in order to hear their song without succumbing to it.

In Goethe's Faust, seen in operatic form at the beginning of the book, the Sirens are part of the chorus of mythical creatures, narrating and commenting on the action.

 

The Odyssey on Book Drum