Daughter of Helios, one of the most powerful titans, and the beautiful nymph Perse, when Circe was born she was expected to inherit the divine powers of her father or the beauty and seductive capacities of her mother. However, she appears to have none of those traits which will cause her to be abused by both her mother and her siblings, and very much ignored by her father.
Everybody believes that she has nothing to offer to her all-mighty family, not even a good marriage with one of the sons of the Olympus gods. But her attraction to a mere mortal suddenly awakens the powers that were hidden within her, and she becomes one of the most well-known and feared witches of the Empire.
I am quite sure most of us know who Circe is and what she did because she played an important role in some of the most famous Greek heroes life pathways, this book, however, will show us the life of Circe through her own eyes. We will see that she was a strong woman who was forced to defend herself by the only way she knew she could. Left alone in a deserted island, none of her relatives expected her to embrace her new life as she did, they wanted (and expected) her to beg for mercy. She knew that, and this pushed her to fight, to prove them wrong.
In the traditional Greek tragedies, women are portrayed as weak beings who cannot defend herself unless she happens to be wronged in love and this turns them into a blood-thirsty monster who will seek vengeance. This ancient plays also like to show that a friendly relationship between women could be dangerous if it was left unguarded. Why? Because these plays were written by men and in that time women did not have any place in society. These stories were made to show that the action of men could make them vengeful, therefore, women needed to be managed and ruled by them.
In “Circe”, we are going to be walked through a new pathway, from the very start Miller shows us that our main character is not as weak as everybody thinks she is. One may argue and say that it is the betrayal of a man what unleashes Circe’s powers only to get revenge, I like to think that Miller included this scene on purpose because even after the vengeance is accomplished, Circe does not feel right. She does not think that she did justice, on the contrary, she feels guilty and remorse becomes her faithful companion from then on. I feel that this is the breaking point from the mythical counterparts of this book because Circe is a goddess, and gods are not supposed to regret any of their actions.
Immortality is also one of the main topics of this story and is a very important one because throughout her life Circe will find herself in the company of mortals. From Jason to Odyssey and some misbehaved sailors, Circe will have plenty of time to study the behavior and lifestyle of mortals. She openly exhibits her curiosity towards the mortal beings since the very beginning and this is an important fact to keep in mind while reading the book. Though sometimes unconsciously, Circe will be constantly asking herself how do mortals manage to survive in their world, How do they handle the pain? Why do they have to wash? How do they overcome sickness? What does it mean to have a broken heart? How does it feel?
Miller writing is amazing, so good in fact that she has managed to take the memorable heroes we all know and to reveal us how they truly were, how the hunger of power and the reminiscence of the war could transform these men. In this work of her, by giving Circe plenty of human characteristics, Miller has managed to give her some redemption by transforming her into a forgivable character. The book keeps all the traits of the mythical tales, you will feel the excitement and emotion to know what will happen next, who will be the next to come and face her.
Whether you are familiarized or not with mythology, you will find it easy to follow the story, my review is mostly spoiler free because I would like you to make your own opinion about the book. I trust that you will read it please, feel free to share your thoughts.