The Penelopiad

The Penelopiad Chapter 28 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
This chapter resumes the Maid’s commentary. First, they call Odysseus a number of names, from “Master of Illusion” to “Mr. Sleight of Hand.” They, the twelve chore girls, assert that they are also present and nameless. They list details about their lives as if to jog Odysseus’s memory. They ask if Odysseus remembers them and then says that “of course” he does, since they bathed him, did his laundry, made his bed, laughed at his jokes, etc. They then comment on how righteous he felt after hanging them.
The Maids goad Odysseus, trying to make him confront the violence that he subjected them to and the fact that, before he killed them, they had complex, real lives. They also reiterate how close they were with Odysseus, since they performed chores for him and served him, suggesting that Odysseus has repaid this service poorly.
Themes
Storytelling, Textual Authority, and Falsehoods Theme Icon
Class, Womanhood, and Violence Theme Icon
Antiquity, Modernity, and Progress for Women Theme Icon
Christianity vs. Greek Religion Theme Icon
The Maids assert that Odysseus should have given them a proper burial. Now, they follow Odysseus wherever he goes, tailing him and appearing accusatorily as corpses. They ask again why he murdered them, and then state that it was an “honour killing.” The Maids tease Odysseus, telling him to look over his shoulder at them, and saying that they will never leave him alone.
The Maids describe their murders as “honour killings,” which are murders of promiscuous women for the sake of a man’s honor. By evoking these modern murders, the Maids connect their murders to a global tradition of violence against women.
Themes
Storytelling, Textual Authority, and Falsehoods Theme Icon
Class, Womanhood, and Violence Theme Icon
Antiquity, Modernity, and Progress for Women Theme Icon
Christianity vs. Greek Religion Theme Icon