Teaching Students About Circe from ‘The Odyssey’

As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that students are well-informed about the world around them, both past and present. When it comes to classical literature, one figure that stands out is Circe from Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. Circe is a fascinating and powerful character whose role in the story is critical to the hero’s journey. In this article, we will explore how to teach students about Circe from The Odyssey.

Who is Circe?

Circe is a goddess and a witch who lives on the island of Aeaea. Odysseus and his men are shipwrecked on her island, where they are turned into pigs by Circe’s magic. However, Odysseus is able to resist her enchantments, and they eventually become lovers. Circe helps Odysseus and his men on their journey home, giving them advice and warnings.

The Importance of Circe in The Odyssey

Circe plays a crucial role in The Odyssey. Her magic and her ability to turn men into animals are an example of the inherent danger that exists on the journey home. Her relationship with Odysseus is also significant as it represents his journey to becoming a man and a hero. Her advice and warnings help Odysseus overcome challenges on his journey home and prove his bravery.

Teaching Students about Circe

When teaching students about Circe, instructors can use various methods. The first is to provide them with an overview of The Odyssey and why it is regarded as a significant literary work. Students can then explore the text and look at the ways in which Circe is portrayed. They can examine how her role in the story changes as Odysseus’ journey progresses and how her character is developed over time.

Another approach is to use media to engage students. There are several movie adaptations of The Odyssey, including an animated version by Disney. Instructors can use these adaptations to help students understand Circe’s character and role in the story. Watching these films can also help them compare and contrast various interpretations of the text and its characters.

In addition, teachers can encourage students to create their own interpretation of Circe. They can create character sketches, write short stories, or make a collage that represents their understanding of Circe. This approach can help them engage with the text on a deeper level and develop their critical thinking skills.


Teaching students about Circe from The Odyssey is a valuable exercise. Circe is a character that is both powerful and dangerous, and her role in the story is critical to Odysseus’ journey home. By exploring her character, students can develop their understanding of classical literature, literary elements, and critical thinking. This kind of learning can stay with students for a lifetime, making them better prepared to engage with the world around them.

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