Memory vs Forgetting in the Odyssey

Topics: Odyssey, Odysseus, Marriage Pages: 3 (1017 words) Published: March 6, 2013
There are many themes of forgetting and remembering in the Odyssey of Homer. When you have a great love for someone or something it shall never be forgotten. Both Penelope and Odysseus show the importance of memory throughout The Odyssey of homer over and over again. The theme of memory and forgetting does not show only love between Penelope and Odysseus but also an important principle in the upkeep of the correct social interactions.

Penelope tells the singer Phemios that she does not want to hear the song that she is singing. The song brings pain to Penelope’s heart and reminds her of her “unforgotten sorrow” (Homer, Odyssey I.342). Whenever Penelope is reminded of Odysseus she become very sad and starts to weep for the love she has lost. In early as book I we are already being shown the powerful love Penelope has for Odysseus. We are being shown a love that we only see in the movies. A common song strikes Penelope right in the heart and reminds her of Odysseus. After all this time separated from each other she still cannot bare the separation from her loving husband. If she had forgotten her great true love Odysseus, Penelope would have married one of the suitors. In turn Odysseus would not be King of Ithaca while he was still alive. Odysseus will also learn that his struggles of finding home; his way back to Penelope would have been heart breaking.

Penelope is awarded kleos in part for remembering her husband.

“She wants to build up the household of the man who marries her, and of former children, and of her beloved and wedded husband, she has no remembrance, when he is dead, nor does she think of him. For yourself, when you come back, you should turn over everything to whichever one of the serving women seems to be the best one, until the gods show who is to be your honored wife” (Homer, Odyssey XV.20-26).

This speech from Athene shows what characteristics most wives will have in the absence of their husbands. When I read this speech it reminds...
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