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Story Summary: Return From Troy, Episode 5

On this page we have split the telling of this episode into its two main sections and provided a summary of each.

Odysseus and the sorceress Circe

Circe’s charms (5:14)

Poseidon, god of the sea, makes sure that the journey home is difficult. When the ship is beached on an island the men wait in despair whilst Odysseus goes off to explore. He returns to find that his men have left the ship. In his search for them he passes wild beasts which behave in a mild and gentle manner. He finds his crew eating and making merry in a palace. As he watches them through the window, the mistress of the place touches them with her wand. They turn into pigs and follow her. Odysseus realises that the lions and wolves he saw earlier had once been human. He is about to use his sword when Hermes appears. Hermes tells him that he can be protected from Circe’s powers only if puts the root of the moly plant into his mouth. Doing this will also help him to find a way home.

Trouble (4:11)

A nervous Odysseus eats with Circe at her palace. He keeps the moly root in his mouth and it works. Her spell has no effect. Odysseus warns Circe that she must return his crew to their human form or she will learn why they say his name means trouble. This is welcome news for Circe as it is the answer to a prophecy. She does as asked and there is a great feast for the men at her palace. In her bedroom Circe persuades Odysseus to stay for a month while the ship is made good. A year later the crew demand that they leave. Odysseus asks Circe for help in outwitting the god of the sea and is told to speak to the blind prophet Tiresias — but to find him Odysseus must enter the realm of many guests.

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