Penelope, Clever Wife of Odysseus Essay

Penelope, Clever Wife of Odysseus Essay

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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, Penel...


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...runs to him and “throwing her arms around his neck” (23.234), she tells him not to be angry with her. Penelope tells him that she has been visited by many men who have come trying to convince her that they were really Odysseus and that she has learned to be cautious because of it.
Penelope is a very influential character in The Odyssey. She is an excellent match for Odysseus in that she is almost as clever as he. She is capable of using ingenuity and wit to accomplish many things throughout the story. She faithfully holds off the suitors in hope that her husband Odysseus will return from the Trojan War alive. She gives a test to the suitors that she knows only her husband could perform. Penelope also tests Odysseus himself by making a statement about moving his bed. This caused him to react rather intensely, and she then believes that her husband has returned home.

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