Abgeschickt von Birgit am 01 Maerz, 2005 um 14:09:28:
On Circe's island, exploring, the companions immediately fall under Circe's spell. She lures them into her palace, invites them to sit down and offers them a welcoming drink. Into the cup she pours a magic potion, and no sooner have they tasted it that they turn into pigs.
But Odysseus is warned by Hermes and given an antidote which will fend off the metamorphosis and will enable him to stay as he is: "You will go on being the same Odysseus you have always been - Odysseus himself."
So when he encounters Circe he goes along with her ploy, makes no mention of his companions and accepts her drink. But he does not turn into a pig but is still Odysseus, gazing at her with a friendly smile...until he pulls out his sword and forces her to free his companions.
This calls to mind Joleta, who enchants and bewitches everyone around her. The only on to withstand her charm is Lymond. He stays true to himself, does not fall under her spell. Having "sipped from her drink" , in this contest he is the stronger one, and he ultimately "frees" his companions from their enchantment.
Circe turns every traveller who arrives on her island into a beast because she is alone, and she wants to surround herself with living creatures who cannot leave. The story states quite directly that in turning them all into pigs or other animals, what she's hoping for is that they will forget the return home, forget their past, forget they are men.
And indeed that did happen to Odysseus's men, though they do nonetheless retain some clarity of mind. They still have a kind of intelligence, such that when they see him, they are very glad - they recognize him. What happened to him was not death, it was a bestialization, that cut them off from the human world.
Think of the men of St. Mary's overcoming the influence of Joleta. And Gabriel's, for that matter.
The next step of the journey takes them to the land of the Cimerians, where day never comes, the land of night, the land of constant fog, the mouth to Hades. This time it is more than a matter of being flung to the outmost bounds of the human, at risk of forgetting one's past and one's humanity; here Odysseus will touch the very frontier of the world of the dead. He will encounter the eidola - doubles, phantoms, souls of the dead. He will encounter the seer Tiresia's ghost who will tell him what to do next.
They reach the land of the dead. And Odysseus sees coming toward him the crowd of those who are nobody, outis, as he once pretended to be - the nameless.
Odysseus is seized with terror at the spectacle.
Tiresias appears. The seer tells him that he will indeed reach home, where Penelope awaits him, and gives him much other news. Odysseus also sees the shades of several heroes; he sees his mother; he finds Achilles and questions him.
This does call to mind the "house of opium" passage, when Lymond is close to the world of shadows, so close to death, wandering the house of opium, the halls of the dead. And the shadows of the dead appear to him: "The haunted rooms of the departed: of a young, vigorous man with red hair, and an old man left in his blood in a bothy; of a henchman dragged from his horse...of a man returning from perilous seas to drown, seeking his son, near his homeland..."
Or any scene where the spirit of the Dame de Doubtance is evoked, as for example in Lyon, when she tells him "your marriage will stand".
Odysseus ship is blasted and shattered, and all his remaining sailors have drowned. Odysseus alone has come through. For days, alone, exhausted, he floats in the seas with the currents carrying this way and that at their will, to the far end of the world. And then, like any shipwrecked seaman on the verge of letting himself drown, he touches down on Calypso's island.
It is a place at the end of the world, past even the bounds of the sea; vast stretches of water seperate it from gods and men both. It is "nowhere". He stays there for an eternity - five years, ten, fifteen, no matter, for time has stopped. He is outside space, outside time. One day is like another. He is living an erotic intimacy with Calypso, with no other contact, no other people. Odysseus is outside the world, outside time, here in Calypso's home. Toward him she is love itself, full of solicitude. But she is also what her name suggests (it comes from the Greek verb "kaluptein" - to hide): a person hidden away somewhere - and hiding Odysseus from all eyes.
"Exhausted and shipwrecked" - Lymond has survived his ordeals and is now staying far away at the edge of the world, in Russia with Güzel, who is looking after him. Here he is hidden away from all eyes, far from home.
Indeed, that is how Homer begins his account of Odysseus's adventure. For ten years the hero is hidden away in Calypso's domain. He lives with her; he has reached the end of his journey, the end of his odyssey.
But then Athena steps in, taking advantage of a moment when the god Poseidon is off guard. Athena tells her father, Zeus, that things cannot go on this way - that the Greek heroes who did not die on Trojan soil or perish at sea on the return voyage are now back at home, have rejoined their families, their homes and their wives, and only Odysseus - the pious Odysseus, her protégé - is still shut away with Calypso. Faced with his daughter Athena's determination, and in Poseidon's absence, Zeus decided that Odysseus is to come home.
Hermes is assigned to see to it. He is very unhappy with the mission: He has never set foot on Calypso's island, and one can see why, since it's a kind of nowhere place. She is far from the gods, far from men. Getting to her requires crossing an enormous stretch of salty sea.
Diccon Chancellor gets assigned this unwilling task.
Grumbling that he's only doing the errand under orders and against his will, Hermes alights on Calypso's island. He is astonished to discover this nowhere place - the little island is like a minature paradise. There are gardens, forests, fountains, springs, flowers and prettily arranged caverns where Calypso sings and spins. The air is sweet with fragrances, cedar and citronwood, there are poplar trees and sweet-smelling cypress, in which long-winded birds make their nests, owls, and falcons and sea crows with chattering tongues. Hermes is dazzled. He approaches Calypso and tells her of Zeus's order. Calypso, having no choice in the matter, agrees to let him go.
As Diccon Chancellor is astonished to discover the house at Vorobievo. The little miniature paradise, the winter garden, the tame birds, with fragrances and flutes in their wings...Calypso's cavern!
Calypso could not help but know that Odysseus still thought about his journey home - that he was the homecoming man. But she harboured the hope that she might somehow make him forget the homecoming, find a way to keep him from recalling what he used to be. After his long journey and all his ordeals, Calypso offers him the chance to be immortal, no longer to fear death and old age.
She is proposing that he become an acual god. In hopes of making Odysseus's shipmates forget their journey home, Circe had turned them into beasts, lower than human. Calypso has the same goal - to bring Odysseus to forget Ithaca and Penelope - but her proposal is that Odysseus metamorphose not into an animal but into a god. The drama, the problematic knot of the story, is that Odysseus confronts this dilemma: Here Calypso is offering him nondeath and eternal youth, but there is a price to pay for achieving that metamorphosis. The price is that he remain with her, that he forget his homeland. And furthermore, if he stays on with Calypso, he will remain in concealment and thus cease to be himself - Odysseus, the homecoming hero.
This is in a way Güzel's aim. To make him forget his past, to turn Lymond into an impervious "godlike" ruler. That he cease to be Lymond and metamorphose into the Voevoda Bolshoia: "I have given you nothing. I have shown you what was there in you already, and you have been man enough to destroy what is weak and to foster what is strong until it is unassailable. There is only one country in the world now fit for your sovereignity, and that country is here."
And what Alec warns him of: "Man is not intellect alone. Not until you reject all the claims of your body. Not until you have stamped out little by little, all that is left of your soul."
Odysseus is the man of remembrance, willing to undergo any ordeal, any hardship, for the sake of fulfilling his destiny, which is being flung out to the very frontiers of the human and yet managing - knowing how - and determining - to come back and to take up his own self again.
Those are Lymond's words to Richard in the scene in the dell in GoK: "I despised men who accepted their fate. I shaped mine twenty times and had it broken twenty times in my hands. "
Like Odysseus, who chooses to go home, Lymond is destined to return to his homeland.
In the Odyssey Calypso lets him go with the words: "Yet, may you fare well. If however, in your heart you knew all the measure of woe it is your fate to fulfil before you come to your native land, you would remain here and keep this house with me, and would be immortal, for all your desire to see your wife for whom you long day in and day out." To which Odysseus answers: "And if again some god shall smite me on the wine-dark sea, I will endure it, having in my breast a heart that endures affliction. For before now I have suffered much and toiled much amid the waves and in war; let this trouble be added to those."