Study Guide

Circe's Power Lies and Deceit

By Louise Glück

Lies and Deceit

I never turned anyone into a pig./ Some people are pigs; I make them/ Look like pigs. (1-3)

Do you buy Circe's defense here? Do you buy that she is innocent of her supposed crime?

I'm sick of your world/ That lets the outside disguise the inside. (4-5)

What exposure would Circe, living on her island, have to Odysseus' world? Do you live in a world that lets the outside disguise the inside?

Your men weren't bad men;/ Undisciplined life/ Did that to them. (5-7)

We are dying to know what an undisciplined life might look like. We also want to know what Odysseus' men do or have done that make them pigs in Circe's mind.

You think a few tears upset me? My friend,/every sorceress is/ a pragmatist at heart; (19-21)

Who is crying here? We are dying to know. In any case, Circe seems to be shattering some myth about sorceress, revealing that they are actually just really good at things like Excel spreadsheets and balancing checkbooks. What would a practical sorceress be like in your mind?

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

OK, this is a really deep moment, and, besides making us think that Circe is truly one philosophical sorceress, it also makes us think that her relationship with Odysseus is full of rich conversations like these. Perhaps their relationship (and their needs) are not so simple after all.