The Odyssey

How does the poem represent mortal women?

Since Penelope is the most important woman in the Odyssey, what qualities does she possess, and how does she respond to the troubles she faces?

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Penelope exhibits a serene patience and calm that disguises how unhappy she is. She misses her husband terribly, but has an admirable stoic quality that lets her continue to wait and hope he will return. Her home is overrun with suitors whom she lacks the ability to kick out, but by staying calm and unemotional, they stay hopeful that she will ultimately choose one of them. When they begin to force the question, she shows a cleverness - she won't marry them until she is done with the shroud she is knitting, even though she secretly undoes it so it will never finish. A clever woman who is able to hide her emotions so as to provide her husband time to get home, she's one of the most fascinating characters in the poem.