The Strong Character of Penelope in Homer's Odyssey Essay
1915 Words8 Pages
The Strong Character of Penelope in Homer's Odyssey
Homer's Odyssey is a story of the homecoming of Odysseus after the Trojan War. Odysseus left his wife, Penelope, and their young son, Telemachos, almost twenty years before the telling of this story to fight in the Trojan War. His absence places Penelope in a rather precarious position. Faced with many different circumstances, both good and bad, Penelope is on her own to decide the path she wishes to take. Depending on her decisions, the situations could either be filled with wonderful opportunities or perilous dangers. The strong character of Penelope is revealed by her decisions.
While Odysseus is away from home, Penelope finds herself playing the role of dutiful wife…show more content…
"For my mother, against her will, is beset by suitors... (Odyssey 2.50)." Assuming that Odysseus had died in the course of the war, they wish to marry her, although no news has yet been delivered as to Odysseus' true fate. Meanwhile, the suitors are eating all her food, killing off all her livestock, and generally using up all the resources of the household (Odyssey 1.248-251). Elders of the town suggest Penelope forget her pride and go home to her father and for him to arrange a new wedding for her. "Let him urge his mother to go back to her father's, / and they shall appoint the marriage and arrange for the wedding presents... (Odyssey 2.195-196)" Thus, the suitors pose multiple dangers for Penelope. If the suitors ruin all the household's resources, or if one were to successfully persuade her to marry him, she would lose her power position. Likewise, if the resources run out and she is forced to move back in with her father, she would lose both her power position and her autonomy.
Along with the suitors, Penelope also faces possible dangers from her own son. Even though Telemachos is not in support of sending Penelope back to her father, he does not fail to underestimate and otherwise disregard her. Following with the typical Greek mindset, Telemachos views women as inherently inferior to men. This view includes how he sees his mother. He automatically assumes that she cannot run a
Essay about The Role of Penelope in Homer's Odyssey
1100 Words5 Pages
Yet, it is true, each day
I long for home, long for the sight of home.
If any god has marked me out again
For shipwreck, my tough heart can undergo it
What hardship have I not long since endured
At sea, in battle! Let the trial come."(Homer V:225-234)
Despite this high opinion of Penelope, before he left, Odysseus and Kalypso " . . . retired, this pair [He and Kalypso], to the inner cave/to revel and rest softly, side by side."(Homer V:235-238) This was not the only time Odysseus "retired", with another woman. On the island of Kirke "[he] entered Kirke's flawless bed of love"(Homer X:390). Despite these few instances, Odysseus remained faithful to Penelope in their twenty years apart. He never loved either Kalypso or Kirke as he did Penelope, and thusly chose not to stay with either of the two. Although the principle might get lost in the tale, Penelope played the part of the goal for Odysseus to obtain, or re-obtain by the end of the Odyssey.
Penelope did not have any idea whether her husband was alive for most of the twenty-years he was gone. She had promised Odysseus that she would not marry until their son, Telemakos, reached the age of adulthood. Just…