Laertes is Odysseus’s father, Anticleia’s husband, and Penelope’s father-in-law. Laertes is faithful to his wife Anticleia because he is afraid of her. Laertes lets Odysseus rule the island and, after his disappearance and Anticleia’s death, Laertes takes up a quiet life as a farmer (possibly because he has gone a little crazy). It is Laertes’s shroud that Penelope weaves in order to trick the Suitors.
Laertes Character Timeline in The Penelopiad
The timeline below shows where the character Laertes appears in The Penelopiad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: The Scar
...Hermes, giving him his craftiness. Autolycus’s daughter Anticleia was Odysseus’s mother, and she married King Laertes. However, there was also a rumor that Odysseus’s real father was Sisyphus, a tricky man... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Trusted Cackle-Hen
...Penelope suggests that Anticleia would die later, while waiting for Odysseus to come home, and Laertes would leave the palace to become a farmer. Penelope describes her mother-in-law as a sour... (full context)
...She had been in the household for a long time and was so valued that Laertes “hadn’t even slept with her.” Other servants told Penelope that Laertes’ restraint was not out... (full context)
Chapter 11: Helen Ruins My Life
...authority. Odysseus, meanwhile, was in complete charge of the kingdom, with only minor interference from Laertes. (full context)
Chapter 12: Waiting
Anticleia died during Odysseus’s absence, blaming Penelope for everything. Eurycleia and Laertes aged. Laertes turned toward a farming life, and Penelope thinks that he had gone a... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Shroud
...a piece of weaving on her loom and said she was weaving a shroud for Laertes and she would not select a Suitor until she finished her work. Laertes did not... (full context)