Atwood’s account of the events of the Odyssey through Penelope and the Maids’ eyes focuses on the hardship and heartbreak of life as a woman in ancient Greece. Among these difficulties are the social and psychological pressures that women face. Atwood examines them primarily through Penelope, whose first person account gives the reader a sense of how Penelope feels about the societal expectations of women.
One of the problematic social dynamics that Atwood explores…(read full theme analysis)
Atwood’s novel, which Penelope narrates from the afterlife of the ancient Greek underworld, actively engages with spiritual and religious subject matter, imagining the relationships between lofty concepts like death, fate, and repentance. From her postmortem perspective, Penelope spends a significant amount of time describing the conditions of the afterlife, which Atwood bases on Greek mythology. In the afterlife, Penelope walks through fields of asphodel (the section of the afterlife for the virtuous, heroic, and god-favored)…(read full theme analysis)