The Character Of Penelope In The Odyssey By James Harrison

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Penelope is possibly the most interesting character in The Odyssey by Homer. She is an independent woman in Ancient Greece - a time where that is unheard of. Her husband is missing, but she continues to be faithful. Cunning, forgiving, and kind, she rules the kingdom and raises her son without her true love. The poem, “Penelope” by James Harrison represents Penelope as a fully developed character. She deals with grief for Odysseus, and solution for her situation with the suitors. Harrison uses the literary device, caesura, to develop Penelope as a well-rounded character. The first example of this is, “Oh, I have no illusions as to what / he’s been up to all these years -- a sea / nymph here, a minor goddess there.” The resentment is so thick in this sentence that readers can almost see Penelope rolling her eyes. The addes pause gives this sentence what it needed to punch the fact that Penelope is not some dumb damsel. It emphasizes the fact that Odysseus has been unfaithful- and she knows, even if she pretends not to. Later in the poem, Penelope reveals “Not / that I’m saying he goes out of his way to be / led astray.” In this section, Penelope tries to comfort herself, telling herself that it is not the the fault of her one true love, that Odysseus’ mistakes won’t make him love her any less, and that he didn’t mean to betray her. Lastly, Penelope throws the fatal blow with, “It happens quite naturally / I’m sure. But it happens.” This is the best example of caesura in the

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