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)
Chapter 11: Helen Ruins My Life
Chapter 12: Waiting
Chapter 15: The Shroud