Essay on Penelope, Clever Wife of Odysseus

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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 …show more content…

Each of the suitors attempts to accomplish this feat, but none of the suitors could even string the bow, much less shoot it. Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, sees that they cannot achieve it, and he asks to be allowed to attempt the test as well. The suitors disagree, but Telemakhos allows it. Now that Odysseus has a bow, he is able to kill the suitors much more easily. This hints to the fact that Penelope may have had a slight suspicion that the beggar was really Odysseus. She would have known that no one but Odysseus himself would know how to string the bow, and only one man, Philoktetes, is capable of shooting better than Odysseus. The Test of the Bow was the name given to the tactic used by Penelope to discover if Odysseus was truly who he said that he was. She turns Eurykleia and says, “Make up his bed for him [Odysseus], Eurykleia. / Place it outside the bedchamber my lord / built with his own hands. . .” (23.202- 204). Odysseus is infuriated by this. He knows that the bed could not be moved, because he had built into the trunk of a tree, and he replies to Penelope by saying: Woman, by heaven you’ve stung me now! Who dare move my bed? No builder had the skill for that – unless a god came down to turn the trick. No mortal in his best days could budge it with a crowbar. There is our pact and pledge, our secret sign, built

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