"She will shrink from you in terror and invite you to her bed."
Circe, by John William Waterhouse
Public DomainCirce, by John William Waterhouse - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Circe is the typical dangerous woman of Greek mythology. She is sly and deceptive, using magic and strange drugs to exert power over men, resorting to seduction when this fails. This idea of the powerful witch-like woman was extremely disconcerting, even frightening, to the patriarchal Greeks, who preferred their women submissive and dutiful. In order to defeat her, Odysseus must sleep with her. In doing so he will reassert his manly dominance and put the natural and proper order of things back into place.