As the request is made of his own mother she simply abides to her son’s wishes, “She bathed now, put on some fresh clothes,” (Homer l 17.60). All throughout the Odyssey Penelope shows her strength to ward off suitors and she manages to live without her husband for years. Remaining faithful the entire time to her husband Odysseus she discloses to her maid, “Eurynome, don’t try to coax me, care for me as you do, to bathe myself, refresh my face with oils. Whatever glow I had died long ago… the gods of Olympus snuffed it out that day my husband sailed away in the hollow ships,” (Homer ll 18.201-206) presenting to the reader that she lost all desire for anyone else when Odysseus’ left for war. This further substantiates the Greek view of how women should remain loyal at all times forsaking others. Lastly Penelope is rewarded for her lasting devotion to her husband with his return. In these characters and their specific roles in the Odyssey the Greeks’ insisted upon their women to accept such roles in their culture of certain hypocrisy when compared to that of their female counterpart. Without Athena’s support Odysseus would have never reached Ithaca and Telemachus would not have been pushed into becoming a man. Without Penelope’s loyalty, devotion, and support Odysseus’ efforts in his journey home would have held little merit of reward. What is most important to note is the male character of Odysseus plays the most prominent role in the epic but
Odysseus must now face the other suitors in order to win Penelope. He must rely on physical strength to get past this task then to face Penelope and convince her it is really Odysseus. After defeating the other suitors Odysseus was cleaned up and made to
Odysseus's wife, Penelope plays a crucial role in Homer's ‘The Odyssey’, with not only providing the motivation for Odysseus's return to Ithaca, but she is also the center of the plot involving the suitors and the fate of Telemakos and Ithaca itself. Therefore the objective of this essay is to analyze the importance of Penelope’s role in ‘The Odyssey’.
While traditional readers of Homer’s, The Odyssey, view Odysseus as a hero, they often reduce Penelope to Odysseus’s helpless wife, but Penelope is more than just a damsel-in-distress. Penelope proves to be Odysseus’s heroic equal, as through her resilient, witty and strategic actions she ensures Odysseus fighting advantages over the suitors.
After a long journey back from the Trojan War, he encounters superhuman beings, luring traps and sea beasts. Finally he reached his home land of Ithaca, where he kills suitors trying to court his wife. After the suitors are dead, Odysseus confronts his wife, Penelope, but she still refuses to acknowledge his reality. Finally she knows he is real because Odysseus tells her about their
Furthermore, Penelope is an important character as her identity “functions as a stable and unchanging reference point for the adventures of Odysseus” (Katz, 6). As Katz explains, Odysseus’ travels are interwoven with his lust for home and his desire to be with his wife again. As well, her identity becomes a parallel to Odysseus’ identity through her use of polutropus (tricks and turns). She proves, by the end of the poem, that she is the perfect match for Odysseus as both of them share the same skills with rhetoric and language to get what they want. Their like-mindedness is evident during the recognition scene between the two. Penelope tests Odysseus’ knowledge of their marital bed - before blindly trusting his claim of identity - by asking the slaves to move their immovable bed: “[putting] her husband to the proof-but Odysseus/ blazed in fury, lashed out at his loyal wife” (Homer, 23.203-204). In his angry response to Penelope’s test, Odysseus proves his identity to his wife as he explains why the bed cannot move. When she hears their familiar story of the creation of their bed, - which only the two and a slave know about - Penelope submits to her long-lost husband in an emotional reunion. Her caution, before accepting Odysseus’ claim, shows the wary protectionism stance that she had to adopt while her husband was gone so she could protect the kingdom from the suitors.
The Odyssey, written by Homer, tells the story of Odysseus after the Trojan War. It not only includes an insight on the adventures and return of Odysseus, but it also includes the stories of Telemakhos and Penelope. Telemakhos is the courageous son of Odysseus who goes on a quest in search for information about his father’s whereabouts. Penelope is an extremely clever woman who could match Odysseus in his wit. Penelope is able manipulate the suitors that have come to pursue her in Odysseus’s absence. Though Penelope often spends many nights weeping over the absence of her husband, it seems as if she never loses faith in her husband, and she truly believes that he will return to her and punish the suitors that have taken over their
During Odysseus’ journey in ‘The Odyssey’, Odysseus runs into a couple problems. He leaves home ready to fight in the Trojan War. Although he had plans on coming home, he never made it home. His wife Penelope and his son Telemachus assumed that Odysseus was dead. It was not until Athena came to Telemachus and gave him everything he needed to make it to his dad. What Telemachus did not know was that Odysseus wanted to come home, but he could not because he was being held prisoner on an island named Ogygia. Odysseus wants nothing more to return home and see his lovely wife Penelope.
She is also very brainy and is able to outsmart Odysseus. When Odysseus finally returns, he tries to hide his identity for as long as possible. He did such a good job that Penelope had a hard time believing that it was actually him. She comes up with a very smart plan to confirm that he was in fact Odysseus. She asks Eurycleia to move their bed into the hallway, to prove Odysseus’ identity, because only he would know that their bed is built around a tree that they built their house around.
Penelope has a very complex and interesting character. For example her determination to wait and to mislead the suitors for so long shows that she had great intelligence and perseverance. Penelope's wit is acknowledged in this quote from Antinous "For all the Achean beauties of former times, none had at her command such wits as she."(Page 20, Book 2). Penelope's wit is also shown in her scheme to mislead the suitors by saying that they must wait for her to weave a shroud for Odysseus's father Laertes. She told them
Penelope acts as the damsel in distress. She is unable to keep the suitors away from her house because she is a woman, and that makes her vulnerable. She also provides Odysseus with a reason to return home because she is his wife. She has no choice but to pick one of the suitors, and soon. Penelope says she is “wasted with longing for Odysseus, while here they press for marriage”(1004). She still loves her husband, which gives him hope that he will be accepted once he makes his return, and gives him a reason to continue trying. She also cannot turn the suitors away, preventing her from being able to protect herself. This once again proves that, as the damsel in distress, Penelope needs Odysseus for protection.
Penelope did not have any idea whether her husband was alive for most of the twenty-years he was gone. She had promised Odysseus that she would not marry until their son, Telemakos, reached the age of adulthood. Just
To begin, Penelope thinks of Odysseus and immediately lets her emotions out: “Odysseus—if he could return to tend my life / the renown I had would only grow in glory. / Now my life is torment … / look at the griefs some god has loosed against me!” (The Odyssey, 18.285-288). Furthermore, Homer expresses Penelope’s sadness by making her sink “on her well-built chamber’s floor” and through her “sobbing uncontrollably” (The Odyssey, 4.810-813). Clearly in Penelope’s mind, Odysseus’ absence is not something she can easily forget. Homer introduces Penelope as a very caring and devoted wife.
Penelope, just as Odysseus, portrayed the great human trait of patience. She did what it took to fend off the suitors with hope that her husband would come back for her. Penelope didn’t give up hope because she felt in heart that Odysseus would come
After Odysseus becomes enraged when Penelope asks the maid to make his bed outside, she realizes that he knows the secret that only Odysseus and her share. She embraces him and praises his homecoming. Once again, Penelope is wise and patient in her decision-making. The suitors pursued her, overtook her home and aggressively pushed her to remarry as she was supposed to. If Penelope would have given in, The Odyssey would not have ended with Odysseus returning to a loyal home. Through cunning, independence and loyalty, Penelope is able to create a positive image as a woman. Chaucer’s Wife of Bath has similar independence and cunning, but she makes her name as a domineering lady that chooses who she wants, and when she wants them.