In classical mythology Circe is a unified figure. Like the other Greek gods, she is very human, but her personality traits are consistant throughout each myth. She is lonely, sexual, deceitful, and greedy. Moreover, Circe embodies Hesiod's Pandora through her similarities with other wicked classical women, like the Enuma Elish's Tiamat.

Circe is alone on her island in each story, and starved for attention. She displays her loneliness by her despiration to seduce the men that come to her island. In Homer's Odyssey, Hesiod's Theogony, and Apollodorus' Library and Epitome, Circe attempts to seduce Odysseus. To do so Circe uses deceit to get Odysseus alone: "she [...] mixed (Odysseus' men) a mess with cheese, honey, meal, and Pramnian but she drugged it with wicked poisons to make them forget their homes, and when they had drunk she turned them into pigs by a stroke of her wand," (Odyssey X, 255-258). Circe fails, but eventually strikes a deal with Odysseus to free his crew if he'll sleep with her. The story is the same in Theogony and Library and Epitome, though in those versions Circe bears children from Odysseus.

Circe also tries to seduce Gods that appear on her island. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Circe tries and fails to captivate Glaucus. Glaucus appears on Circe's island after being rejected by Scyllia, in hopes to get a potion to ease his pain by Circe, the purifier. Here Circe tries to seduce Glaucus with words, but fails. Angered over her rejection, she curses Scyllia with the legs of a dog (XIV, 27-111).

These tails of failed seduction create a desperate figure in mythology. Though Circe is a god, she is obviously not a very powerful one, because she cannot seduce either Odysseus or Glaucus. She appears to be more of a witch, using herbs and potions to influence the people around her. People seek her for herbal remedies to purify their ills, but she never grants their wish; she would rather have her way with them.

In each story Circe embodies Hesiod's discription of Pandora: "For from her is the race of women and female kind: of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who live amongst mortal men to their great trouble," (590-593). For Hesiod, women were a double-bladed sword on mankind: necessary for procreation, but "whose nature is to do mischief," (595). This theme, which has been present not only in ancient Greek myths, but Mesopotamian myths like the Enuma Elish as well, is continued with the character of Circe. In the Enuma Elish, Tiamat, the mother of all other gods, was an evil beast-like character that had to be defeated for order to be obtained. Her beastial qualities were shown when "she spawned monster-serpents, / Sharp of tooth, and merciless of fang; / With poison, instead of blood, she filled their bodies./ Fierce monster-vipers she clothed with terror," (106-109).

In each myth, Circe's lair is filled with the same savage scenery as Tiamat. Her house was built in the middle of the woods, with "wild mountain wolves and lions prowling all round it," (Odyssey X, 212). In Metamorphoses, Circe had "halls filled with men in guise of animals," (15). Circe could control the beasts, just like Tiamat. The description of Circe's beasts is even more elaborate in Argonautica:

And beasts, not resembling the beasts of the wild, nor yet like men in body, but with a medley of limbs, went in a throng, as sheep from the fold in multitudes follow the shepherd. Such creatures, compacted of various limbs, did each herself produce from the primeval slime when she had not yet grown solid beneath a rainless sky nor yet had received a drop of moisture from the rays of the scorching sun; but time combined these forms and marshalled them in their ranks; in such wise these monsters shapeless of form followed her. (677-681)

This description of Circe's beasts bears a close resemblance to Tiamat, and combined with her deceitful, seductive, and greedy nature, further display how Circe embodies Hesdiod's Pandora, a curse upon mankind.


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