Study Guide

Circe's Power Abandonment

By Louise Glück

Abandonment

I'm sick of your world (4)

How is Odysseus' world not Circe's world?

In the same breath,/ I foresaw your departure (15-16)

There's something so formal about the way Circe says, "I foresaw your departure." She could say, "I knew that you would leave," or "I saw that you would not stay," but she reverts to a formal tone. Perhaps she is disguising her emotion at this moment.

Your men with my help braving/ The crying and pounding sea (17-18)

Odysseus can't leave without Circe helping him. But if Circe were to help him, it would mean she would have to let him go. She does just that, and we begin to think that there might be some real, true love involved.

nobody sees essence who can't/ face limitation. (21-22)

Circe seems to say here, "if you can see truth, you know things come to an end; you know there are obstacles, walls, and roadblocks in the way." If you are able to see Truth (with a capital "T"), then you have to be able to face the music, as it were. At this moment, we also remember that Circe is immortal, and so she knows no limits to her own life. Because she is immortal, however, she sees mortals die all the time. She is constantly abandoned, perhaps. Maybe being immortal is not so cool.

If I wanted only to hold you/ I could hold you prisoner (22-23)

Circe can prevent loneliness and abandonment really easily. All she has to do is to throw down some sorcery to get her way. Why doesn't she thrown down her sorcery?

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