Study Guide

Siren Song Sirens

By Margaret Atwood


The sexy ladies of yesteryear are back with a modern twist in Atwood's "Siren Song." These Sirens aren't your ordinary bird-ladies from Greek mythology. In fact, they're kind of bored with the whole "mythical" version of themselves. But since those sailors keep showing up, they've still got a job to do.

  • Lines 1-3: It's all about the Siren and her song that's "irresistible." We know Atwood is working with the classical definition of what a Siren does, but we're already hearing this Siren's more modern voice.
  • Lines 10-12: Lest we forget whether we're dealing with classical or contemporary Sirens, their job is still the same and they're still villains at the end of the day. In other words, we can't trust them completely, especially when they flatter us with "secrets."
  • Lines 13-18: Our Siren-speaker wants out of her "picturesque and mythical" interpretation of herself. She's bored with the island and those "feathery maniacs" too. So, we feel bad for her in a way, which isn't so typical when we're dealing with Siren myths.
  • Lines 22-24: In true Siren style, our speaker plays the damsel-in-distress here. She needs help and we're the only ones to save her. But since she's been flattering us so much with all her "unique" talk, we don't fully realize we're being duped—until, you know, we're goners.