Penelope, the Odyssey

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Penelope, Loyal Wife of Lord Odysseus

While Penelope is not the principal character in Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus’ perception of her is optimal. The relationship between them is not based on loyalty, we, the audience, have the privilege to understand his genuine feelings towards her. Throughout Odysseus’ journey, Homer assures us that he loves Penelope regardless of the fact that he has his episodes of infidelity. Homer also insinuates that Odysseus, although maybe not immediately, acknowledges the sacrifices that she makes for him. He also elaborates that Penelope is dedicated to Odysseus by constantly reminding us of how she refuses to give up on her marriage and settle with one of the many suitors that plague her estate.

Penelope proved herself to be a strong individual in The Odyssey. For years during Odysseus’ absence from his kingdom, unable to return home, there were men who contended against one another hoping that they would be able to take Odysseus’ place on his throne. However, Penelope continued to wait for her husband to come home regardless of how unlikely it was that Odysseus would reclaim his title of king, all while allowing the possible replacements to believe that they have a chance as Antinous describes to Odysseus and Penelope’s only son: “So high and mighty, Telemachus—such unbridled rage!

Well now, fling your accusations at us?
Think to pin the blame on us? You think again.
It’s not the suitors here who deserve the blame,
it’s your own dear mother, the matchless queen of cunning. Look here. For three years now, getting on to four,
she’s played it fast and loose with all our hearts,
building each man’s hopes--
dangling promises, dropping hints to each--
but all the while with something else in mind.
(Book 2:90-100)
This suggests that women of the society in Ancient Greece would be devoted and dependent on their husbands, but were also given options to pave their own paths. If tragedy were to strike, women would be able to...
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