The Penelopiad Analysis

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To be able to answer the question ‘How does Margaret Atwood re-arrange Homer and why?’, one must first look at how Atwood perceived the characters and writings that Homer created in his novel ‘The Odyssey’ .
In an interview, Atwood explained her beliefs on the gender roles surround The Odyssey thus incorporating this as well as other materials into ‘The Penelopiad’ by stating: “There is an argument that has been made quite thoroughly that The Iliad and The Odyssey were written by two different people, and that the person who wrote The Odyssey was a woman.’

Atwood then carries on to explain her argument stating how several people have made the argument of how ‘The Odyssey’ was written by a woman, as well as pointing out that it is
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This then raises the two questions: What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?
Both questions Atwood then elaborates on within the tale of ‘The Penelopiad’.

One can therefore see how one can then construe Atwood’s work as a reply to ‘The Odyssey’, focusing on a character who, as a woman in Ancient Greece, was by definition banned from any sort of relevant events, as well as being a female character thus exiling her to the margin of an epic.
Atwood points out that in ‘The Odyssey’, Odysseus as well as Penelope are written in the third person, excluding only the part where Odysseus is telling the story of his adventures such as the one-eyed monster, the eating of Apollo’s cattle, etcetera.

The novel itself comes across with a style similar to that of Greek drama, with the main crux of story being told by the main character Penelope, however she is constantly being interrupted by the twelve maids’ chorus lines which only serves as commentary and their expression of sorrow.
They make themselves known first in a morbid rope-jumping rhyme which chillingly contrasts playfulness to pain and an innocent childhood game to murder: “we danced in air, our bare feet twitched, it was not fair” .
Toward the middle of the rhyme they point out how they were punished for action far less offensive than the ones committed by Odysseus himself: “we did much less, than what you did,

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