Penelope is the queen of Ithaca, Odysseus’s wife, who got married for love and was faithful to her husband on Ithaca for 20 years of separation. She did not stop to believe in his return, despite rumors of his death. These basic features of Penelope made her a key image in world literature. Penelope, like her husband, is also endowed with a number of heroic qualities: she has intelligence, fidelity, chastity, respect for gods and customs of their ancestors. She is also cunning and bloodlust in a way, which manifests itself in the cleverly-wise plan of massacre of brides.
The defining character trait of Penelope is her mind. Speaking about it, Homer describes it with such epithets as smart, clever, and wise.
Agamemnon contrasts Penelope with his wife Clytemnestra, who killed him after he returned home. In contrast to her, Penelope can’t do such a deed; she remains faithful to Odysseus and loves him. Instead, she prefers her own death.
Penelope’s mind that is constantly stressed by surrounding people also manifests itself in things. Penelope has nobility of soul, concepts of honor and dignity, kindness and hospitality. She also does not mind the work; she embroiders the cloth before the coming wedding, trying to drag it away; she looks after the old man.
Each of Homer’s characters embodies some particular typical feature – for example, Achilles and Hector personifies the military valor and nobility of spirit; Odyssey personifies experience and skill, while Penelope and Andromache represent a higher ideal of female nobility and devotion. These ideal typical features added by the poet, do not prevent them to be human beings with inherent disadvantages intrinsic to people like injustice, greed, cruelty and perfidy.
According to this principle, the image of Penelope, which expresses the perfect performance of intelligent wife, is also endowed with certain negative qualities - Penelope waits for Odysseus with some perfidy and coldness of feelings. Penelope is also prone to tricks. She easily agrees to murder of grooms by the trickery.
Homer gives very little specific characteristics to Penelope, yet together with epithets they perfectly describe her. Homer emphasizes her femininity, softness and hardness that oppose the grooms. Penelope remains true not only to her husband, but also she selflessly protects Odysseus’s treasures. Treasure is both the condition of Ithaca’s growth, and the king’s property. This mercantile point is emphasized in the poem repeatedly.
Penelope practically does not think of herself; she is devoid of selfish traits and doesn’t not about her appearance. All her thoughts are focused on expectations and grief of the Odysseus.
Penelope is the queen of Ithaca, Odysseus’s wife, who got married for love and was faithful to her husband on Ithaca for 20 years of separation. She did not stop to believe in his return, despite rumors of his death. These basic features of Penelope made her a key image in world literature.