On A Close Reading of 'Circe' By Madeline Miller
Circe is the tale of the witch that is shortly featured in Homer's Odyssey. Her character is rendered some much-needed attention by Madeline Miller.
The everyday slights, indignities, put downs and insults that people of colour, women, LGBT populations or those who are marginalized experiences in their day-to-day interactions with people.
5/5 stars for 'Circe'
I declare, even before the ardent classicists, 'Circe' > 'Odyssey' (I did so even with The Song of Achilles and its Homerian ancestor). There is a multitude of layers within Goddess/Nymph/Witch Circe and yet at her core, she is ridiculously human.
Many small and big myths and legends are connected with the story of Circe beautifully. I wish someone would do a comparative study between this book and Robinson Crusoe. I would pay to read that because I feel that a lot of parallels can be drawn and a lot of contrasts, exemplified, between the titular characters.
This innate humanness within Circe was desperately obvious to her father, Helios himself, her mother, her siblings, and the people that she grows up around. Her outsider status makes her a remarkable spectator, observer, and savant when it comes to the Gods and their true nature.
Perhaps, this book is a biting commentary on the Gods in Greek Mythology, and hopefully, my next words won't be a stretch; to the hierarchy and the power imbalance in the world.
The transformation of the protagonist from a cowering, uncertain child into an authoritative, assured woman is charming to spectate. Because she doesn't have godly qualities and powers, nor is an exquisite beauty, she is cast aside at the Gods' deeply patriarchal and frivolous society.
What is supposed to be her greatest punishment: her exile, heralds her journey into becoming a powerful witch; who is powerful enough to make a God of a man, to turn men who seek to violate her into pigs, to protect the world from Minotaur, to hold off the sky and with it Athena (who seeks to harm her son), to finally make her physical self a reflection of her inner humanness and much more.
Each sentence in this novel is like poetry, supplemented with exceptional imagery, and hence, I read this book as slowly as I could; so that I could savour it. This book is like an adventure novel where the reader is always left anticipating what would come next or what has passed with the other supporting characters because the story is strictly in first-person perspective but all is answered abundantly with the passing of the pages. I always say, if a tale makes one feel something then that is enough to rate it well.
I know good work takes time but I am eagerly awaiting the next book by Miller cause 💕