by Louise Glück
Circe's Power Summary
When reading this poem, we feel almost like an audience seated in a Greek amphitheater, draped in night's velvety blackness, as we watch Circe deliver a monologue. Circe addresses Odysseus, who is either getting ready to leave her for good, or who has already left her.
She defends her sorcery and actions and tries to prove how powerful she is to him and to us. We feel her pain, her frustration, and her love for Odysseus as she retells the story of their affair. She claims that she never transformed anybody into a pig who wasn't a pig already. She tells Odysseus she doesn't like his world (the real world), where everyone pretends to be something they're not. She tells him that she thought they would live happily ever after, and reminds him that he and his men wouldn't be able to go home safely and successfully without her help. She finishes by saying that if she wanted to, she could keep him with her as a prisoner.