There was an interesting question in Lit regarding the meaning of her name, and in my research, I came across some interesting speculation on Nausikaa's distinctness. For instance, she is the one woman Odysseus does not mention to Penelope.

Modern authors have definitely "run with" this idea, but I'm wondering if anyone here has thoughts on the subject.

Note: The Wikipedia leaves out her mention in Eliot.

  • 3
    Nausicaa's myth bears some resemblance to those of Medea, Helen, Ariadne, and Dido: each is divinely swayed to fall in love with a foreign adventurer, by a goddess who is the man's special patroness; and this love leads to forlorn-ness and sorrow for the woman, and some degree of loss or ruin for her people. Nausicaa's is perhaps the gentlest version of the pattern. Jul 19, 2017 at 22:18
  • Hello! So I'm looking at some old unanswered questions, and I came across yours. I'm trying to find an answer for it, but I'm unsure of what your question is asking. What exactly do you mean by "symbolize"? Do you want to know who she is? What she did?
    – user6252
    Aug 20, 2019 at 19:00
  • @FuzzySquid More trying to get at "what she means", in terms of the significations of her identity and actions.
    – DukeZhou
    Aug 22, 2019 at 17:16
  • @DukeZhou I'll second the other user. I'm not sure still what that means. These are characters in an epic. They don't "mean" anything in particular. They have roles and functions, but not everything is supposed to be allegorical.
    – cmw
    May 16, 2022 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


I always saw Nausicaa as a misunderstood fragment from a much earlier tradition. Her Mother/father (Queen Arete & King Alcinous of Phaeacia) were clearly co-equals in an highly advanced culture(they knew not war nor the bow and trusted to their swift ships which obeyed their voice) as was King Aeolus in his steel walled floating city state.
This presupposes that the Iliad/Odyssey was mangled memory from millennia earlier.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.