The Marriage Bed

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The marriage bed symbolizes the strength and
commitment of the relationship between Penelope and Odysseus. Its' very construction has great significance in portraying these deep bonds between them. In this paper I intend to discuss the importance of the marriage bed in The Odyssey and what it represents to both Odysseus and Penelope. Marriage is the union between two people who are in love and very committed to each other. It not only affects the two people that are bonded together, it also affects their friends, family and the house. The marriage bed in Homeric times is a representation of this commitment and the house in which it resides. This bed is also symbolic of a kind of hieros gamos, a holy or a sacred marriage. The marriage bed is the center of the household where procreation takes place, is rooted in the earth. It is a type of, the central beam. By cutting this link the bond between household and land would be broken, meaning the end of the house and all that resides within it. The reunion between Penelope and Odysseus was problematic in that, she wasn't sure if this was really her husband or an imposter. Penelope always cautious and suspicious of everyone, needed to test Odysseus. Only the real Odysseus will know about the marriage bed, because he had made it himself. She purposely asked the nurse to bring out the bed, to be placed "outside the well-fashioned chamber," (Book 23 line.178) knowing that only Odysseus would know that the bed he made was fixed permanently into place. The bed played an important analogy in demonstrating the true strength and love of the relationship between Odysseus and Penelope. When Odysseus said, "no mortal man alive could move its weight else where," (Book 23 line.187) he was being arrogant that he was a great hero more than a normal man even god like. Obviously no mortal man can replace the great Odysseus. He was not only referring that no other man is strong enough to move the bed but no one could replace him in...
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