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"In March 2006, I found myself, at 38, divorced, no kids, no home, and alone in a tiny rowing boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I hadn’t eaten a hot meal in two months. I’d had no human contact for weeks because my satellite phone had stopped working. All four of my oars were broken, patched up with duct tape and splints. I had tendinitis in my shoulders and saltwater sores on my backside.
"I couldn’t have been happier. ."
(Roz Savage, " My Transoceanic Midlife Crisis ." Newsweek , March 20, 2011)
Commentators are split in their interpretation of Calypso’s extraordinary speech to the gods. Some see it as a realistic, unflinching account of the way things work in the patriarchal culture of ancient Greece: while men of the mortal world and Zeus and the other male gods can get away with promiscuous behavior, society expects females to be faithful at all times. Others understand Calypso’s diatribe as a reaction to this reality. With this interpretation, we find ourselves naturally sympathetic to Calypso, who is making a passionate critique of social norms that are genuinely hypocritical. The question of interpretation becomes even trickier when we consider the relationship between Penelope and Odysseus. The poet seems to present Odysseus’s affair with Calypso without rebuke while looking askance at Penelope’s indulgence of the suitors, even though her faith in Odysseus never wavers. If we understand Calypso’s speech as a criticism of these patriarchal norms, we can see how the text presents two contrary attitudes toward sexual behavior, and Calypso’s speech seems to point out and condemn the unfair double standard that Homer seems to apply to Penelope.