Study Guide

Circe's Power Abandonment

By Louise Glück

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As we begin this poem, Circe is suspended in a moment of abandonment. The departure of her lover, Odysseus, has rocked her boat, and she is trying to not capsize. We know that, in Homer's epic poem, the The Odyssey, Circe vanishes into thin air, leaving only a black ewe and ram in her wake. In this poem, however, we see her left behind. She does not vanish. She remains on her island. Circe is immortal, which means that she is accustomed to abandonment, accustomed to mortals leaving her through their deaths.

Questions About Abandonment

  1. What do you think is Circe's greatest fear?
  2. How does Circe feel about being left?
  3. If we did not know the story of The Odyssey, how would we know that Circe is being abandoned?

Chew on This

Because she is immortal, Circe is constantly abandoned.

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