Homer's poem The Odyssey depicts the tendency of people to ignore the consequences of their actions. Odysseus punished Penelope's suitors without thinking of consequences that he would have to endure. He did not acknowledge the consequences because that would prevent him from doing what he wants to do. Odysseus wanted to kill the suitors; they ate away at his fortune. Finding consequences for murdering the suitors would force Odysseus to realize what he is about to do is not a good idea. Odysseus chose to ignore the consequences and killed the suitors anyway. Odysseus had absolutely no reason to kill the suitors; they had the right to stay in his home because Penelope made them feel welcome, Penelope and Telemachus both told them that Odysseus was dead, and although Telemachus told them to leave, he did not have the right to do so. Throughout the poem, Penelope encourages the suitors to stay in her home by making them think they are welcome. With Odysseus gone Penelope chooses whom she hosts in the great palace. Penelope does hate the suitors but she never once tells them to leave. She even makes the suitors think that she would be choosing her new husband soon and in this way she makes them feel welcome in her home. Antinous, a suitor, responds to accusations Telemachus made to the suitors at an assembly.
It's not the suitors here who deserve the blame,
It's your own dear mother [Penelope], 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. (2.94-100)
Penelope makes each individual suitor feel special and makes him believe that she would pick him as her new husband. This action implies not only that she allowed the suitors to remain in her household, but more importantly that she wanted the suitors to stay. Therefore, Penelope's speech and...
Cited: Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Books, 1996.
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