by Louise Glück
Stanza III Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Under the care of
Me and my ladies, they
Sweetened right up.
- Now we really see some fancy footwork. Think back to the beginning of this poem when Circe told Odysseus that his men are pigs. And then remember how she told Odysseus that his men are actually not that bad, but that their "undisciplined" lives had turned them into bad men? Well, now Circe puts the proof in her pudding – she argues that she knows his men are not bad men by nature because they became really sweet and nice as pigs in her pigsty.
- As her ladies (read: her maids) took care of them, feeding them and making sure they had lots of mud to roll around in, enforcing bed times and things like that, they were actually quite charming creatures.
- Circe implies that, in the pigsty, Odysseus' men-turned-pigs found the discipline they had so long needed in their lives.
- The short lines in this stanza combined with the enjambment (line break) at then end of lines 8 and 9 give us the feeling that Circe is taunting Odysseus, gradually revealing a joke. It's as though she's saying: "Oh honey, your men aren't really that bad. It was just their lifestyle that mad them bad. Once they became pigs, and once I and my ladies were able to take care of them, they became little angels."
- We can almost hear Circe giggle at the end of line 10.
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