The woman I have selected for our discussion this week will be Eurycleia. Aside from the other women frequently mentioned in our readings this week, it was very interesting to find that Eurycleia was rarely revealed in our text, but acquires to play one of the most significant roles in the family.
“Of all the female household slaves she was the one who loved him most, for she had nursed him as a child” (Odyssey Book One, lines 342-343). In these lines, it explains that Eurycleia was a faithful and trustworthy servant, despite all who worked for Odysseus. Eurycleia loved Odysseus and her responsibility was taking good care of him. Also, it was believed that she had nurtured him from his younger years.
What was out of the ordinary about their home is that it was filled with suitors whom stayed there until Odysseus time, and not to mention the slaves took part in the house as well as Eurycleia, a woman whom was not a Goddess and not even attractive compared to Circe or Nausicaa. She was only a person, which I think she does not require having permission or approval from the Goddess to either destroy or bring misery among their adversaries. Also on the other hand, she did not have control of any authorities to gain sincere affection and compassion for Odysseus. Eurycleia role was more than what she was to their family.
Eurycleia was Odysseys and his son Telemachus’ nurse, and also was like another member of their family. Reading further more about her, Odysseus and his son respected her like one of their own. Thinking about it, Circe set up Odysseus on a voyage after she had turned his crew from pigs back to humans using her wand. For quite awhile, Odysseus informed Circe that he wanted to return home and he was hoping that she will let him go with her blessings.
Circe had something else on her mind, even though she agrees for him to leave. She wanted him to go to Hades and perform a sacrificial ceremony which involves animals. Odysseus obeyed her orders and prepared his men and started their voyage. He completed every mission he was ordered by Circe with success except one failed, when he was performing the sacrificial ceremony and he had a vision of his mother.
As we moved to Book Nineteen, (Eurycleia recognizes Odysseus) “It’s true, dear child, You are Odysseus, and I didn’t know you, not until I’d touched all my master’s body.” She spoke, and her eyes glanced over at Penelope, anxious to tell her that her husband had come home.Then Odysseus’ arms reached out for Eurycleia—with his right hand he grabbed her by the throat,and with the other pulled her closer to him.
Then he said: “Stay silent, so in these halls no one else finds out” (Odyssey Book Nineteen, lines 163-172). Eurycleia was happy to see Odysseus returned and she wanted to let Penelope know but he whispered to her to keep quiet. From there also she notices the scar on his leg that she has seen when she was washing his feet and that is how she realized that it was Odysseus.
As far as her feelings towards this situation, she was very glad to know that Odysseus whom she has a close bond with has returned they both were fortunate to see each other – “Eurycleia recognizes Odysseus.” Eurycleia was mortal, and regardless of all the characters such as Calypso and the devious Sirens, she was the normal and faithful one that has nothing to do with the Gods and Goddess’ characteristics.
I can relate to Eurycleia as a mother whom takes care of her family as well as protecting them and it was like natural for her to stay longer and forever to take care of them. And for my position and standpoint, this is really me more than a few practices. I am a single mother of one, and I have been raising another child since birth until now he is 24 years old. I did not get any support from his biological parents whom I don’t claim at all; however, I reached out to my family for assistance and tried my best to make sure that he is well taken care of, in spite of the circumstances.
It was a tough situation to go through and understand, it was a challenge as well for me to comprehend during the time and it lead myself into this matter. As a mother, I considered this child not only as my son but as a blessing, and with every opportunity I have to take care of him as he is my very own I am willing to do whatever it takes. I see the reflection of Eurycleia in myself and I know for a fact that there are other women who can relate to her as well.