The Penelopiad

Penelope Character Analysis

Penelope is the daughter of King Icarius, the mother of Telemachus, Odysseus’s wife, and the first-person narrator of the majority of the novel. Penelope, although not a beauty, is known for her cleverness, her devotion, and her modesty. Penelope is insecure about her looks and her ability to attract men, often comparing herself to her cousin Helen, whom she loathes. Penelope marries Odysseus at age fifteen and then returns to Ithaca with him. In Ithaca, Penelope finds herself with few friends. She loves Odysseus, however, and the two often lie in bed together, telling stories. Penelope gives birth to Telemachus a year before Odysseus leaves for the Trojan War. During Odysseus’s absence, Penelope becomes an expert at managing Odysseus’s estate independently, employing twelve of her Maids to help her spy on the Suitors who have come to beg for her hand in marriage. A skilled weaver, Penelope tricks the impatient Suitors by telling them that she will not select one of them for marriage until she is finished making a shroud for her father-in-law Laertes. She then unravels her progress each night with the help of her trusted Maids. In the afterlife, Penelope is haunted by the fact that Odysseus ordered her Maids’ deaths when he returned home. Penelope never chooses to be reborn, preferring, like she did in life, to stay at home in the fields of asphodel.

Penelope Quotes in The Penelopiad

The The Penelopiad quotes below are all either spoken by Penelope or refer to Penelope . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling, Textual Authority, and Falsehoods Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Canongate Books edition of The Penelopiad published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes

And what did I amount to, once the official version gained ground? An edifying legend. A stick used to beat other women with. Why couldn’t they be as considerate, as trustworthy, as all-suffering as I had been? That was the line they took, the singers, the yarn-spinners. Don’t follow my example! I want to scream in your ears—yes, yours!

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker)
Related Symbols: Weaving and Fiber Work
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

Then after hundred, possibly thousands of years…customs changed. No living people went to the underworld much any more, and our own abode was upstaged by a much more spectacular establishment down the road—fiery pits, wailing and gnashing of teeth, gnawing worms, demons with pitchforks—a great many special effects.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker)
Page Number: 18-19
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 7 Quotes

Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.

Related Characters: Penelope’s Mother (The Naiad) (speaker), Penelope
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
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The gatekeeper had been posted to keep the bride from rushing out in horror, and to stop her friends from breaking down the door and rescuing her when they heard her scream. All of this was play-acting: the fiction was that the bride had been stolen, and the consummation of a marriage was supposed to be a sanctioned rape. It was supposed to be a conquest, a trampling of a foe, a mock killing. There was supposed to be blood.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker)
Page Number: 44
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Chapter 9 Quotes

She’d been in the household ever since Odysseus’s father had bought her, and so highly had he valued her that he hadn’t even slept with her. ‘Imagine that, for a slave-woman!’ she clucked to me, delighted with herself. ‘And I was very good-looking in those days!’

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Helen
Page Number: 60-61
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I ought to have thanked her for it, with my heart as well as my lips…Whether to cover the mouth when you laugh, on what occasions to wear a veil, how much of the face it should conceal, how often to order a bath—Eurycleia was an expert on all such matters.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Eurycleia
Page Number: 61
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‘Helen hasn’t borne a son yet,’ he said, which ought to have made me glad. And it did. But on the other hand, why was he still—and possibly always—thinking about Helen?

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Odysseus, Telemachus
Page Number: 64
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Chapter 11 Quotes

If word got around about his post, said Odysseus in a mock-sinister manner, he would know I’d been sleeping with some other man, and then—he said, frowning at me in what was supposed to be a playful way—he would be very cross indeed, and he would have to chop me into little pieces with his sword or hang me from the room beam.
I pretended to be frightened, and said I would never, never think of betraying his big post.
Actually, I really was frightened.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 12 Quotes

Rumors came, carried by other ships… Odysseus had been in a fight with a giant one-eyed Cyclops, said some; no, it was only a one-eyed tavern keeper, said another… Some of the men had been eaten by cannibals, said some; no, it was just a brawl of the usual kind, said others… Odysseus was the guest of a goddess on an enchanted isle, said some… and the two of them made love deliriously every night; no, said others, it was just an expensive whorehouse, and he was sponging off the Madam. Needless to say, the minstrels took up these themes and embroidered them considerably.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Odysseus
Related Symbols: Weaving and Fiber Work
Page Number: 83-84
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I had such a clear picture in my mind—Odysseus returning, and me—with womanly modesty—revealing to him how well I had done at what was usually considered a man’s business. On his behalf, of course. Always for him. How his face would shine with pleasure! How pleased he would be with me! ‘You’re worth a thousand Helens,’ he would say.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 89
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Chapter 15 Quotes

Though we had to do it carefully, and talk in whispers, these nights had a touch of festivity about them, a touch—even—of hilarity… We told stories as we worked away at our task of destruction; we shared riddles, we made jokes… We were almost like sisters. In the mornings… we’d exchange smiles of complicity… Their ‘Yes ma’ams’ and ‘No ma’ams’ hovered on the edge of laughter, as if neither they nor I could take their servile behavior seriously.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), The Twelve Maids
Related Symbols: Weaving and Fiber Work
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
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It was not unusual for the guests in a large household or palace to sleep with the maids. To provide a lively night’s entertainment was considered part of a good host’s hospitality, and such a host would magnanimously offer his guests their pick of the girls—but it was most irregular for the servants to be used in this way without the permission of the master of the house. Such an act amounted to thievery.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), The Suitors, The Twelve Maids
Page Number: 116
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Chapter 18 Quotes

He then said that he’d made the decision he’d had to make—he’d gone in search of his father, since no one else seemed prepared to lift a finger in that direction. He claimed his father would have been proud of him for showing some backbone and getting out from under the thumbs of the women, who as usual were being overemotional and showing no reasonableness and judgment. By ‘the women’, he meant me. How could he refer to his own mother as ‘the women’?

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Odysseus, Telemachus
Page Number: 128
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Chapter 19 Quotes

I didn’t let on I knew. It would have been dangerous for him. Also, if a man takes pride in his disguising skills, it would be a foolish wife who would claim to recognize him: it’s always an imprudence to step between a man and the reflection of his own cleverness.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
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I then related a dream of mine. It concerned my flock of lovely white geese, geese of which I was very fond. I dreamt that they were happily pecking around the yard when a huge eagle with a crooked beak swooped down and killed them all, whereupon I wept and wept.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Odysseus, The Suitors, The Twelve Maids
Related Symbols: The Maids’ Deaths
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 20 Quotes

The more outrageous versions have it that I slept with all of the Suitors, one after another—over a hundred of them—and then gave birth to the Great God Pan. Who could believe such a monstrous tale? Some songs aren’t worth the breath expended on them.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), The Suitors, Pan
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 21 Quotes

Let us just say: There is another story.
Or several, as befits the goddess Rumour…
Word has it that Penelope the Prissy
Was—when it came to sex— no shrinking sissy!
Some said…that each and every brisk contender
By turns did have the fortune to upend her,
By which promiscuous acts the goat-god Pan
Was then conceived, or so the fable ran.
The truth, dear auditors, is seldom certain—
But let us take a peek behind the curtain!

Related Characters: The Twelve Maids (speaker), Penelope , The Suitors, Pan
Page Number: 147-148
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 23 Quotes

‘Only twelve,’ she faltered. ‘The impertinent ones. The ones who’d been rude… They were notorious whores.’
‘The ones who’d been raped,’ I said. ‘The youngest. The most beautiful.’ My eyes and ears among the Suitors, I did not add. My helpers during the long nights of the shroud. My snow-white geese. My thrushes, my doves.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Eurycleia (speaker), The Twelve Maids
Related Symbols: The Maids’ Deaths , Water
Page Number: 159-160
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 25 Quotes

Then he told me how much he’d missed me, and how he’d been filled with longing for me… and I told him how very many tears I’d shed while waiting twenty years for his return, and how tediously faithful I’d been, and how I would never have even so much as thought of betraying his gigantic bed with its wondrous bedpost by sleeping in it with any other man.
The two of us were—by our own admission—proficient and shameless liars of long standing. It’s a wonder either one of us believed a word the other said.
But we did.
Or so we told each other.

Related Characters: Penelope (speaker), Odysseus
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
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Penelope Character Timeline in The Penelopiad

The timeline below shows where the character Penelope appears in The Penelopiad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: A Low Art
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The Penelopiad opens with Penelope, the first-person narrator, quoting herself saying, “now that I’m dead, I know everything.” Penelope then... (full context)
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Penelope begins to describe the afterlife, stating that everyone arrives to the underworld in a sack... (full context)
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Odysseus’s account, Penelope thinks, was always so “plausible,” and many people believed his account of things while taking... (full context)
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Bitterly, Penelope thinks that all she amounted to was a “stick used to beat other women with,”... (full context)
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Penelope decides that it is her turn to make her own story now, because she owes... (full context)
Chapter 3: My Childhood
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The third chapter returns to Penelope’s first-person narrative as Penelope wonders whether to begin her story at the beginning or elsewhere.... (full context)
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Penelope tells the reader that her father was King Icarius of Sparta and her mother was... (full context)
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Penelope deviates from her personal history to remark that teaching crafts has become less popular than... (full context)
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Penelope returns to the story of Icarius throwing her into the sea, saying that she may... (full context)
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Regardless, Penelope says, she was thrown into the sea, although she does not remember it. Someone else... (full context)
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Since Penelope is the daughter of a Naiad, however, drowning her was not a smart plan. Her... (full context)
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Penelope, however, could not reciprocate Icarius’s affections. She remembers walking with her father along a cliff... (full context)
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Penelope goes on to describe her mother, who was beautiful but coldhearted. Penelope’s mother would slide... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Chorus Line: Kiddie Mourn, A Lament by the Maids
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This chapter returns to the Maids’ narrative, and like in Penelope’s prior chapter, they discuss childhood. Their own parents, they note, were poor peasants or slaves... (full context)
Chapter 5: Asphodel
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Chapter 5 returns to Penelope’s narrative as she describes what life is like in the underworld. She notes that it... (full context)
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Penelope finds the dark grottos of the lower levels, where the minor criminals go, to be... (full context)
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Sometimes, Penelope says, the people of the underworld can see into the world of the living, or... (full context)
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...underworld are sometimes called up to the world of the living by magicians and mediums. Penelope finds this kind of summoning demeaning, but admits that it does help her stay up... (full context)
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Penelope is not often summoned by magicians, but her cousin Helen is in high demand. Penelope... (full context)
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...many men admire her again during the sessions. She sometimes appears in Trojan clothes that Penelope finds over-the-top, and spins around. Or she appears like she did when she tried to... (full context)
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Penelope notes that people used to tell her that she was beautiful because she was a... (full context)
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Penelope notes that Helen was never punished for all the harm and suffering she caused to... (full context)
Chapter 6: My Marriage
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Penelope opens Chapter 6, which continues in her first-person narrative, by saying that her marriage was... (full context)
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Penelope thinks that the gods often enjoyed making messes with their love affairs. Penelope finds this... (full context)
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Penelope returns to the subject of marriages, stating that marriages were for having children, and having... (full context)
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...Icarius’s court, they maintained the custom of having physical contests to determine who would marry Penelope. The winner of the contest was then expected to live at Icarius’s palace. Through the... (full context)
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Penelope calls the treasures men received in the form of the bride’s dowry “trash” because most... (full context)
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The ancient customs required the treasure to stay in the bride’s family’s palace. Penelope thinks that this custom is why, after Icarius tried to throw her into the sea,... (full context)
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Penelope then describes herself as a girl of fifteen, looking out her window at the young... (full context)
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...of love and desire for her and then break their hearts. Though Helen was prettier, Penelope was kinder than Helen, and cleverer. Penelope muses that men prefer their wives to be... (full context)
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As Penelope continues to study the men from the window, she tries to figure out who each... (full context)
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Penelope asks about one barrel-chested man below, and the maid tells her he is Odysseus, the... (full context)
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Penelope wonders aloud how fast Odysseus can run, since the contest to marry her is a... (full context)
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Next, Helen approaches Penelope, walking with an exaggerated sway to try to get attention. She is extremely beautiful and... (full context)
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Helen states that she thinks Odysseus would make a good husband for Penelope, and that if she went to Ithaca with him her life would certainly be quiet.... (full context)
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The maids look to Penelope to see what she will say in response, but Penelope is speechless. Helen tells Penelope... (full context)
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Because she was in bed, Penelope did not watch the race itself, which Odysseus won through cheating. Uncle Tyndareous helped Odysseus... (full context)
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Penelope then recounts a rumor she heard that she “was the payment” for something Odysseus had... (full context)
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Penelope, though, has a different idea of what happened. She thinks that Tyndareous, who had to... (full context)
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Regardless of why, Odysseus won. Penelope remembers Helen smiling during the marriage, happy that Penelope was moving to Ithaca, which she... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Scar
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Penelope’s first-person narration continues as she describes being handed over to Odysseus “like a package of... (full context)
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At Penelope’s wedding feast the guests gorged themselves on lots of free food, eating with their hands... (full context)
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Penelope, meanwhile, was too nervous to eat anything, worried that Odysseus would be disappointed in her... (full context)
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Penelope’s mother attended her wedding, sitting on the throne next to Icarius with a pool of... (full context)
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When the door was closed on Odysseus and Penelope, Odysseus sat Penelope down on the bed and told her that, unlike what she had... (full context)
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Penelope later learned that Odysseus was not the type to fall asleep immediately after sex, which... (full context)
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Penelope then tells the reader about Odysseus’s family history. Odysseus’s grandfather, Autolycus, was supposedly descended from... (full context)
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Returning to the story of Odysseus’s scar, Odysseus told Penelope that Autolycus invited him to collect gifts he inherited. Odysseus went to visit Autolycus and... (full context)
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In turn, Penelope told Odysseus about being thrown into the sea and then saved by ducks. Odysseus sympathized... (full context)
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After a few days, Odysseus announced that he would be taking Penelope and her treasures back to Ithaca. This annoyed Icarius, but Tyndareous supported the move. Penelope... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Trusted Cackle-Hen
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This chapter returns to Penelope’s narrative as she describes her trip to Ithaca. Penelope spent most of the trip lying... (full context)
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...of people was at the harbor to cheer for them and get a glimpse of Penelope. That night they feasted with the local aristocrats, Penelope wearing her finest clothes and accompanied... (full context)
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Penelope cried often but tried not to let on to Odysseus how unhappy she was. Odysseus... (full context)
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Penelope asked Odysseus if he had found the hidden way into her heart, and Odysseus smiled... (full context)
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Penelope then goes on to further describe Ithaca, calling it “no paradise” and saying it had... (full context)
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Odysseus’s mother and father still lived in the castle with them, though Penelope suggests that Anticleia would die later, while waiting for Odysseus to come home, and Laertes... (full context)
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Odysseus’s former nurse, Eurycleia, gave Penelope even more trouble. She had been in the household for a long time and was... (full context)
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Penelope avoided Anticleia and stayed with Eurycleia, who, although condescending, was friendly. She told Penelope all... (full context)
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Still, Eurycleia was somewhat kind to her, and encouraging as Penelope was trying to get pregnant. She was the only person Penelope could talk to besides... (full context)
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Odysseus was happy with Penelope when she gave birth to Telemachus, and he told her proudly that Helen had not... (full context)
Chapter 11: Helen Ruins My Life
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Penelope, again resuming her first-person narrative, describes how she became used to life in Ithaca, despite... (full context)
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Penelope found family dinners especially stressful because of the tense family dynamic. Occasionally Penelope would try... (full context)
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Penelope, however, didn’t have much to do to have fun. Sometimes she would go for a... (full context)
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Sometimes, while Penelope was spinning yarn, she would sit in the courtyard and listen to the maids laughing... (full context)
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Penelope also spent a lot of time in the room she shared with Odysseus. The room... (full context)
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In the bed, Penelope and Odysseus enjoyed their time together, either having sex or talking. Odysseus told Penelope many... (full context)
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Penelope had already heard this story from Helen herself, who told Penelope that Theseus and Peirithous... (full context)
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When Telemachus was one year old, according to Penelope, “disaster struck” because of Helen. A captain from Sparta arrived in the harbor and Odysseus... (full context)
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As Odysseus listened to the story, he stayed quiet. That night, however, Odysseus told Penelope that he was upset because he and many other men had sworn a sacred oath... (full context)
Chapter 12: Waiting
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Penelope continues her narrative following Odysseus’s departure. He was away in Troy while she stayed in... (full context)
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Every day Penelope would climb up to the top floor of the palace to look for Odysseus’s ships,... (full context)
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The minstrels sang these rumors, embellishing them freely. In front of Penelope, they only sang the best versions, in which Odysseus came across as clever and good,... (full context)
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Anticleia died during Odysseus’s absence, blaming Penelope for everything. Eurycleia and Laertes aged. Laertes turned toward a farming life, and Penelope thinks... (full context)
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As a result of this, Penelope had to learn everything on her own. Penelope learned to make inventories and how to... (full context)
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Through trading for supplies, Penelope developed a reputation as a smart bargainer. She oversaw farms and became an expert at... (full context)
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Despite her busy schedule, Penelope felt extremely alone. She cried herself to sleep and prayed to the gods for her... (full context)
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Progressively, outsider interest in Penelope increased, and foreign ships began appearing in the harbor. People asked Penelope if she would... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Suitors Stuff Their Faces
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Penelope resumes her first-person narrative, but deviates from her chronological account of the past to mention... (full context)
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In the underworld encounter, Penelope greets Antinous and asks him to take the arrow out of his neck. Antinous responds... (full context)
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Penelope thanks him and then says that, now that they are friends, he can tell her... (full context)
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Antinous, using a nasty tone, responds that Penelope probably could have still had one or two “brats,” and Penelope asks again about his... (full context)
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Although Penelope had thought that she would prefer straightforward answers, she does not. Still, she thanks Antinous... (full context)
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According to Penelope, the Suitors did not show up directly after Odysseus left. For the first ten years... (full context)
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The Suitors said that they would continue to feast off of Odysseus’s estate until Penelope chose one of them as her new husband. They would occasionally make speeches about Penelope’s... (full context)
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After the feast, Penelope’s Maids would tell Penelope the nasty things the Suitors had said behind her back, calling... (full context)
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Penelope’s tears meant that the Maids could cry too and console her, which Penelope thinks was... (full context)
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Penelope could do nothing to stop the Suitors, since they did not respond to her pleas... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Shroud
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As the pressure on Penelope to choose a suitor increased, she spent whole days in her room in the women’s... (full context)
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Meanwhile, if Penelope married one of the Suitors, the man would then be able to order Telemachus about.... (full context)
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Penelope reminded the Suitors that an oracle foretold Odysseus’s return, but the Suitors countered that prophecies... (full context)
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Penelope finally came up with a scheme to postpone her decision. She set up a piece... (full context)
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Penelope chose twelve Maids that she had raised since they were children to help her with... (full context)
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Ultimately, Penelope states, one of these Maids betrayed her secret unweaving of the shroud. She thinks it... (full context)
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...Suitors, several of the Maids were raped and others fell in love with the Suitors. Penelope notes that it was not unusual for guests at a palace to sleep with maids,... (full context)
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Penelope comforted the Maids after their encounters, since many of them felt guilty, and the ones... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Penelope continued to tell the Maids to pretend to be in love with the Suitors so... (full context)
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In retrospect, Penelope sees her strategy as ill considered, but notes that she was running out of time... (full context)
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Penelope was forced, after the Suitors’ intrusion, to promise to finish the shroud. She states that... (full context)
Chapter 16: Bad Dreams
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Penelope states that this was the worst part of her trials, and that she cried constantly.... (full context)
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In the Odyssey, a herald named Medon warns Penelope of the Suitors’ intention to kill Telemachus. Penelope here sets the record straight, saying that... (full context)
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After her crying fits, Penelope usually fell asleep and dreamed. On the night that Medon told her about Telemachus, she... (full context)
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When Penelope finally went back to sleep, she dreamed that her sister, who had been sent by... (full context)
Chapter 18: News of Helen
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Penelope resumes her narrative, relaying how Telemachus avoided the Suitors’ ambush and reached home safely. Penelope... (full context)
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...and saying he did not need anyone’s permission to take the boat. He then blamed Penelope for letting so much of his inheritance be consumed by the Suitors. Telemachus defended his... (full context)
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Penelope, wondering how her son could refer to his mother as “the women,” burst into tears.... (full context)
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...and Theoclymenous, with dinner. Piraeus and Theoclymenous had gone on the ship with Telemachus, and Penelope resolved to tell their parents about their wild antics. As Telemachus ate, Penelope thought that... (full context)
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When the men finished eating, Penelope, still a little hurt from their earlier conversation, asked if Telemachus had discovered anything about... (full context)
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Penelope asked how Helen was, and Telemachus said she seemed fine, and that everyone was telling... (full context)
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Penelope knew that Telemachus was lying, but was flattered that he would lie for her. She... (full context)
Chapter 19: Yelp of Joy
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Penelope muses about whether prayer has any effect, picturing the gods mischievously deciding which prayers to... (full context)
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...Suitors before announcing his arrival. If he had walked in and ordered them all out, Penelope thinks, he would be dead on the spot. Instead, he dressed like a beggar and... (full context)
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Penelope did not tell Odysseus that she knew, however, because it would be dangerous and because... (full context)
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Penelope did not have time to tell the Maids Odysseus’s true identity, so they continued to... (full context)
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When evening arrived, Penelope went to see “the beggar,” who claimed to have news about Odysseus and who assured... (full context)
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Penelope then asked the beggar for advice, saying that she planned to take Odysseus’s bow and... (full context)
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After telling the beggar about the test, Penelope recounted to him a dream that she had had in which an eagle with a... (full context)
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Penelope says that in the songs, they often say that Penelope ordered her Maids to wash... (full context)
Chapter 20: Slanderous Gossip
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Penelope decides to address the rumors that have been circulating about her since ever she was... (full context)
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One of the wildest stories that Penelope heard was that she slept with all of the Suitors and then gave birth to... (full context)
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Still other people believe that, because Penelope did not punish the Twelve Maids, Penelope must have been having sex with the Suitors... (full context)
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Other people allege that Odysseus did not reveal himself to Penelope when he first arrived back in Ithaca because he did not trust her. Penelope states,... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Chorus Line: The Perils of Penelope, A Drama
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...Pretty Cheeks speaks the prologue, opening by saying that there is “another story” in which Penelope was purportedly sleeping with various Suitors, and using her tears to distract from her deeds.... (full context)
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Next, Eurycleia, played by a maid, informs Penelope that Odysseus is back, and that she identified him by his scar. Penelope, played by... (full context)
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Penelope then sends her lover down some hidden stairs and asks Eurycleia to make her look... (full context)
Chapter 22: Helen Takes a Bath
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This chapter returns to Penelope’s first-person narrative. She recounts a recent time when, as she was walking through the asphodel,... (full context)
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Penelope sneers and asks if Helen is going to take off her (nonexistent) robes. Helen comments... (full context)
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Penelope quips that seeing Helen naked must give the spirits “a reason to live,” and Helen... (full context)
Chapter 23: Odysseus and Telemachus Snuff the Maids
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Penelope slept through Suitors’ killings in the women’s quarters, probably because Eurycleia drugged her drink. Eurycleia... (full context)
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Penelope corrected her, saying that Odysseus had hung the rape victims, the youngest, and the most... (full context)
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Penelope wonders if another explanation might be that Eurycleia knew of her Maids’ assignments and wanted... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Chorus Line: An Anthropology Lecture
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...twelve, but thirteen. They say that they were, in fact, thirteen counting the “High Priestess” Penelope. According to the Maids, all together this reading shows that the Maids’ deaths are a... (full context)
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Prior to male-dominated society, the winner of the bow-shooting contest that Penelope initiated would have become King for a year and then would be hanged and have... (full context)
Chapter 25: Heart of Flint
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This chapter returns to Penelope’s first-person narrative as she describes her feelings after the Suitors and the Maids were murdered.... (full context)
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...where Odysseus and Telemachus were sitting, she did not greet Odysseus right away—and Telemachus criticized Penelope for not welcoming him. Although Penelope loves Telemachus, she wished then for a second Trojan... (full context)
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Penelope told Odysseus that he couldn’t be her husband, since he, unbathed, looked so unlike the... (full context)
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Penelope and Odysseus then climbed into their marriage bed, which had gone unused for so long.... (full context)
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...the Suitors’ murders and pacify Poseidon, and thereby satisfy a prophecy he heard while traveling. Penelope calls it “a likely story.” (full context)
Chapter 26: The Chorus Line: The Trial of Odysseus, as Videotaped by the Maids
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...does not know, since it was three or four thousand years before. The judge calls Penelope for a witness, who says she was asleep, and can only recount what the maids... (full context)
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The judge notes that the Maids were frequently rude, and asks why Penelope did not punish them. Penelope states that they were like daughters to her. She starts... (full context)
Chapter 27: Home Life in Hades
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This chapter returns to Penelope’s first-person narrative as she describes a recent look into the world of mortals after a... (full context)
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According to Penelope, modern people only want to know about the economy and world politics and converse with... (full context)
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Penelope then explains how spirits can be reborn by drinking from the “Waters of Forgetfulness,” wiping... (full context)
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Penelope informs Helen that interpretations of the Trojan War have changed—now everyone thinks Helen was a... (full context)
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Penelope admits that she is right, and that she will never drink from the Waters of... (full context)
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Odysseus, Penelope notes, drinks the water very often. When he comes back to the afterlife, he acts... (full context)
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Penelope thinks that Odysseus means it when he says he wants to be with her, but... (full context)