Calypso is the goddess of the sea who fell in love with Odysseus and trapped him on her island for seven years. She is typically depicted with a dolphin or a crab.
Daughter of the Titan Atlas, Calypso was a goddess of renowned beauty. She controlled the seas along with Poseidon, and her temper was well-known to be as unpredictable as the waves. In Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, Odysseus landed on her island called Ogygia shortly after he lost all of his men. She took him into her beautiful island cave dwellings and fell in love with him immediately. She was known for her music and song, and she used this to enchant him for seven years on her island.
Finally, Odysseus’ longing to return to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus became more overwhelming than Calypso’s songs, and he tried to escape, but she would not let him. He appealed to Athena, his protector, who ordered Calypso to let him build a boat so he could set sail again. Calypso was angry at first, and then became heartbroken. In some versions of the myth, she tried to commit suicide when Odysseus left, but because she was immortal, she could not die. In some accounts of the myths, Calypso and Odysseus had two children together.
Atlas and Pleione
Be sure to check out the lesson plans on The Odyssey!
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