Penelope In Homer's The Odyssey

1218 Words5 Pages
When people think of strong characters from Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, they likely think of the namesake, Odysseus. In The Odyssey, Odysseus, king of Ithaca, has to leave his home and family, including his wife and newborn son, to fight in the Trojan War, and is gone for twenty years. While Odysseus is a great character, there’s more there. His wife Penelope is such a strongly written character, but no one seems to care much. Perhaps it was because women were seen almost as lessers in Ancient Greek times, but this isn’t Ancient Greece. The seriousness of women in our society has progressed significantly, but Penelope is still so underappreciated. Loyal, sensible, and cunning, Penelope has multiple qualities of an epic hero, yet people can’t…show more content…
In his twenty year absence, she doesn’t stop grieving and feeling pain over him. Speaking about how Penelope holds Odysseus’ bow and arrow in her arms, Homer writes, “Now Penelope sank down, holding the weapon on her knees, and drew her husband’s great bow out, and sobbed and bit her lip and let the salt tears flow” (1150). This shows that, even after twenty years, Penelope still aches for Odysseus and misses him dearly, showing that she still loves him very much. Since Odysseus is gone for such an extended period of time, suitors had started to gather in the great hall of the castle. Clearly there were plenty of opportunities for her to be unfaithful to Odysseus, but she refused all of them, thus proving her desire to maintain the image and qualities of a perfect wife. In fact, she doesn’t even want to take a chance of not being loyal. When Odysseus finally returns home, he has been helped by the goddess Athena and made to look different in his appearance, which makes it difficult for anyone to recognize him. When he tells Penelope that it is him, she questions him to be sure that she isn’t being lied to. She didn’t even want there to be a chance of her being unfaithful to Odysseus. Penelope is smart about her loyalty, among other

More about Penelope In Homer's The Odyssey

Open Document