The Odyssey

The Odyssey

How are the Greek values of family and perseverance shown through Odysseus’s return home?

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Although we see these values, we must also recognize the tremendous double standard between genders at play here. That Homer never reproaches Odysseus for his extracurricular romances but condemns the unfaithful women in the poem recalls Calypso’s angry statement about the double standard for immortals: male gods are allowed to take mortal lovers, while female goddesses are not. Likewise, men such as Odysseus have some freedom to "wander" sexually during their geographical wanderings -- so long as they are ultimately faithful to their home -- while Penelope and the other women in The Odyssey are chastised for their lack of chastity. Indeed, Odysseus does remain true to Penelope in his heart, and his desire to reunite with her drives his faithful journey. Fidelity is also central at the end of the poem, when Odysseus tests the loyalties of his servants and punishes those who have betrayed him.