The etymology of Calypso's name is from καλύπτω (kalyptō), meaning "to cover", "to conceal", "to hide", or "to deceive". According to Etymologicum Magnum, her name means "concealing the knowledge" (καλύπτουσα το διανοούμενον, kalýptousa to dianooúmenon), which – combined with the Homeric epithetδολόεσσα (dolóessa, meaning "subtle" or "wily") – justifies the hermetic character of Calypso and her island. The word καλύπτω is derived from Proto-Indo-European*ḱel-, making it cognate with the English word "Hell".
In Homer's Odyssey, Calypso attempts to keep the fabled Greek hero Odysseus on her island to make him her immortal husband. According to Homer, Calypso kept Odysseus prisoner at Ogygia for seven years. Calypso enchants Odysseus with her singing as she moves to and fro, weaving on her loom with a golden shuttle. Odysseus soon comes to wish for circumstances to change.
Odysseus can no longer bear being separated from his wife Penelope and wants to go to Calypso to tell her. His patron goddess Athena asks Zeus to order the release of Odysseus from the island, and Zeus orders the messenger Hermes to tell Calypso to set Odysseus free, for it was not his destiny to live with her forever. She angrily comments on how the gods hate goddesses having affairs with mortals, but eventually concedes, sending Odysseus on his way after providing him with wine, bread, and the materials for a raft.
Homer does not mention any children by Calypso. By some accounts, which come after the Odyssey, Calypso bore Odysseus a son, Latinus, though Circe is usually given as Latinus' mother. In other accounts, Calypso bore Odysseus two children: Nausithous and Nausinous. The story of Odysseus and Calypso has some close resemblances to the interactions between Gilgamesh and Siduri in the Epic of Gilgamesh in that "the lone female plies the inconsolable hero-wanderer with drink and sends him off to a place beyond the sea reserved for a special class of honoured people" and "to prepare for the voyage he has to cut down and trim timbers."
Philosophers have written about the meaning of Calypso in the Ancient Greek world. Ryan Patrick Hanley commented on the interpretation of Calypso in Les Aventures de Télémaque written by Fénelon. Hanley says that the story of Calypso illustrates the link between Eros and pride. Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer brought attention to the combination of power over fate and the sensibility of "bourgeois housewives" in the depiction of Calypso.
Calypso, blonde-haired goddess by Jan Styka (20th century)
Calypsoby George Hitchcock (about 1906)
The Goddess Calypso rescues Ulysses Cornelius van Poelenburgh (1630)
Calypso calling heaven and earth to witness her sincere affection to Ulysses by Angelica Kauffman (18th-century)
Calypso receiving Telemachus and Mentor in the Grotto by William Hamilton (18th century)
Mercury ordering Calypso to release Odysseus by Gerard de Lairesse (1676-1682)
Odysseus as guest at the nymph Calypso by Hendrick van Balen (circa 1616)
Hermes Ordering Calypso to Release Odysseus by Gerard de Lairesse (circa 1670)
Odysseus und Kalypso by Arnold Böcklin (1883)
Calypso by Henri Lehmann (1869)
Calypso's Isle by Herbert James Draper (1897)
Ulysses on Calypso's island by Ditlev Blunck (1830)
Hermes bei Calypso und Odysseus by Hubert Maurer
Hermes orders Calypso to release Odysseus by John Flaxman (1810)
^See Hesiod, Theogony1019, Sir James George Frazer in his notes to Apollodorus, E.7.24, says that these verses "are probably not by Hesiod but have been interpolated by a later poet of the Roman era in order to provide the Latins with a distinguished Greek ancestry".
^Dalley, S. (1989) "Myths from Mesopotamia" Oxford University Press, Oxford, NY.