Show MoreThe Role of Penelope in The Odyssey
The character of Penelope in Homer's Odyssey reflects the faithful wife who waits twenty years for the arrival of her husband. Only a strong woman could sustain the stress, anxiety and confusion resulting from the chaos of a palace with a missing king whose fate is unknown. Her responsibilities and commitments toward the man she loves are particularly difficult to keep, under the strain of the situation. Although she does not actively pursue an effort to find him, her participation in the success of Odysseus' homecoming can be seen in her efforts to defend and protect the heritage, reputation and the House of Odysseus in his absence. As Odysseus withstands his trial, Penelope withstands her…show more content…
Also in book 6 we have a reinforcement of the standard functions of the woman and the man. Nausikaa's mother is with her female attendants, weaving clothes. Nausikaa's father is shown on his way to the council with other male officials (line 50). This same distinction of roles is often referred to in the whole poem. Telemachos often tells his mother, as in book 1 line 356, to go back to her distaff, while he was to attend political councils: "Go therefore back in the house and take up your own work, the loom and distaff, and see to it that your handmates ply their work also; but the men must see a discussion, all men, but I most of all."
Penelope as usual performs this duty of the household faithfully.
All those duties however are a part of a larger goal, the goal keeping a good name for oneself in the eyes of others and the eyes of gods. We see finally in the Nausikaas short episode, the most important factor a woman must realize. Nausikaa directs Odysseus to the city but recommends that he goes by himself to avoid the scandal that might arise if she were seen bringing in a male stranger. It is Precisely this the best reputation which is presented in the Odyssey as the most valued goal in life. Penelope's responsibility is to develop and maintain the best reputation. As wife she must preserve the reputation of her husband, her family, and must maintain the system of the household. As a woman she must arise above
Penelope, Clever Wife Of Odysseus Essay
The Odyssey, written by Homer, tells the story of Odysseus after the Trojan War. It not only includes an insight on the adventures and return of Odysseus, but it also includes the stories of Telemakhos and Penelope. Telemakhos is the courageous son of Odysseus who goes on a quest in search for information about his father’s whereabouts. Penelope is an extremely clever woman who could match Odysseus in his wit. Penelope is able manipulate the suitors that have come to pursue her in Odysseus’s absence. Though Penelope often spends many nights weeping over the absence of her husband, it seems as if she never loses faith in her husband, and she truly believes that he will return to her and punish the suitors that have taken over their house. Penelope’s cleverness can be seen in the following examples: she comes up with many clever ideas to delay the suitors’ rage, and she invents two main tests that are proof her ingenuity, the Test of the Bow and the Test of the Bed.
One-hundred and eight suitors have come in pursuit of Penelope, and Penelope reacts to them rather dubiously. Believing that she can only delay them rather than get rid of them, Penelope uses her resourcefulness to hold them off for many years. One of these brilliant ideas is that she tells them that she needs to weave a funeral shroud for the aging father of Odysseus, Laertes. During the day, Penelope weaves the shroud, but once night comes around, she diligently unravels the shroud. This trick works for many years. Unfortunately, an unfaithful maid tells the suitors of her scheme. Penelope also sends notes to each of the suitors with promises to marry soon. By continually telling the suitors each different times that she will finally marry one of the suitors, Penelope, again, delays the rage of the suitors. She tells them that Odysseus once told her that if he were not to return from the war she was to marry once Telemakhos was capable of growing a beard.
Penelope forges the Test of the Bow to test the suitors, promising that she would marry the man who is able to pass this test. The test involves stringing the double-torsion bow, given to Odysseus by Iphitos, and shooting an arrow through axe heads that would be lined up by Telemakhos. Each of the suitors attempts to accomplish this feat, but none of the suitors could even string the bow, much less shoot it. Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, sees that they cannot achieve it, and he asks to be allowed to attempt the test as well. The suitors disagree, but Telemakhos allows...
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