Odyssey Compare/Contrast

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Comparison and Contrast: Penelope vs. Penny

Though Penny Wharvey McGill is portrayed as a “Southern 1930’s” version of Penelope, this heroine has many contrasting characteristics compared to the wife of Odysseus from Ancient Greece. In the Odyssey, Penelope stayed loyal to Odysseus while he was gone at sea for 20 years, and Penny couldn’t even stay faithful to Ulysses Everett McGill, who was only in jail for 2 years. Many pieces of evidence show the lack of allegiance Penny had to Everett. When Everett sees his daughters again for the first time since he’s escaped, they recognized him and their dad at first, but then remembered that their mom told them that he had been hit by a train and died. After hearing that, Everett goes to find Penny to which he discovers that not only has she changed the girls’ last names to her maiden name, Wharvey, but Penny got engaged while he was gone and is in line to get married the next day to her modern-day suitor, William T. Walldrip. Penelope did the complete opposite. Many suitors came to “woo” her after believing that Odysseus had died. She put them off with a trick, telling them that she would marry one of them once she finished the funeral shroud for Odysseus’ father, which she wove by day and secretly unravelled by night. She managed to deceive them for three years by doing this. After the three years, she was caught and the suitors demanded a decision. She cleverly came up with another scheme, an archery contest; a challenge that is nearly impossible for all but Odysseus. She did whatever she could to hold them off because she had hope that Odysseus would come home.

On the other hand, these women have very different stories with many similarities. They were both confident in their decisions throughout the entire story. After Everett goes to jail, Penny is seeking out a new husband with better qualities than he has, one whom she says has to be “bona-fide” and can provide for her and the girls. Penny knows what she...
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