Rafael Zaragoza & Jackalyn Perez English 1 Pre-AP


Penelope in "The Odyssey"

Penelope is the Wife of the King of Ithaca, Odysseus and Daughter of Icarius and his wife Periboea. She only has one son with Odysseus named Telemachus, who was just born before Odysseus got called to fight in The Trojan War. Penelope waits for her husband for about 20 years; everyone else thinks that Odysseus is dead except Penelope and Telemachus. Penelope has a feeling that he is not dead and she will wait as long as she need to until his return. Since they think Odysseus is dead, there’s a need to crown a new King for Ithaca. Suitors from all over come to claim the thrown. Penelope still remains faithful and does not want to marry. So the suitors stay there for 4 years drinking all of their wine and eating all of their food. Penelope cannot ask them to leave because she is the host and has to respect their guest also Telemachus and she are not strong enough to do anything. She devises a plan and tells the suitors that she will marry after she weaves a burial shroud for Laertes and so every night for 4 years she weaves the shroud and undoes it, until one of her unfaithful servants tell the suitors of her trickery. Athena later tells Penelope that Odysseus is alive and will be returning home later, so she devises one last one to delay time and ask the suitors whoever can string Odysseus bow and shoot it through 12 axe heads will win her hand in marriage. She knew no one would be able to do this because only Odysseus is strong enough to complete this task. At the end when Odysseus revealed himself to Penelope she wanted to know for sure that it really was Odysseus, so she ask the made to move the bed. She knows that can’t be done and also does the real Odysseus because he made that bed out of a log. That proves that he is the real Odysseus, and finally they kiss and live a good life.

Important Facts about Penelope

The wife of the hero Odysseus Penelope was celebrated for her faithfulness, patience, and feminine virtue. For the 20 years that her husband was away during and after the Trojan Warf, Penelope remained true to him and helped prevent his kingdom from falling into other hands.

Penelope's parents were Prince Icarius of Sparta and the nymph Periboea. Periboea hid her infant daughter as soon as she was born, knowing that Icarius had wanted a son. As soon as Icarius discovered the baby girl, he threw her into the sea to drown. However, a family of ducks rescued her. Seeing this as an omen, Icarius named the child Penelope and raised her as his favorite child.

When Penelope reached womanhood, Odysseus asked for her hand in marriage. Although reluctant to part with his daughter, Icarius agreed, and Penelope went with her new husband to his home on the island of Ithaca. Penelope and Odysseus were deeply in love, so it was with great sorrow that Odysseus later left her and their infant son, Telemachus, to fight in the Trojan War.

The Trojan War lasted ten years, and it took Odysseus another ten years to get home to Ithaca. During that time, Penelope received the attentions of many suitors. For a while, she put them off by saying that she would consider marriage only after she finished weaving a shroud for her father-in-law, Laertes, who was grieving over Odysseus's absence. Each day Penelope would sit weaving the cloth, but at night she would secretly unravel her work. After three years, a servant revealed Penelope's secret, and she had to finish the shroud. When her suitors became insistent again, Penelope announced that she would marry the man who could shoot an arrow through the loops on a row of 12 ax heads.

Unknown to Penelope, Odysseus had arrived home disguised as a beggar. He wanted to review the situation in his kingdom before revealing his return. The disguised Odysseus won the archery contest and then killed all the suitors with help from his son Telemachus. At first Penelope would not believe that Odysseus was her husband, for the gods had hidden his identity from her. However, Odysseus revealed his true identity by telling Penelope a secret about their marriage that only they knew, and the loving couple were finally reunited.


Important Facts about Odysseus

A celebrated hero, best known for his role in the Trojan War, son of Anticlea and of King Laertes of Ithaca. However, some stories maintain that his father was Sisyphus, founder of the city of Corinth and a cunning man who outwitted the god Hades*. This version says that Sisyphus seduced Anticlea before her marriage to Laertes and that Odysseus inherited his cleverness from Sisyphus. Educated by the centaur Chiron. Odysseus began to display great strength and courage at an early age. When Odysseus reached manhood, King Laertes stepped aside and let his son rule Ithaca. Around the same time, Odysseus began thinking of marriage. Like other young rulers and heroes in Greece, he desired Helen*, the beautiful daughter of King Tyndareus of Sparta. But Ithaca was a poor kingdom, and Odysseus had little hope of winning her. Nevertheless, he went to Sparta as a suitor. While in Sparta, Odysseus displayed some of the cunning for which he became famous. Crowds of men had come to Sparta to seek the hand of Helen, and King Tyndareus feared what might happen when he chose one of them to marry his daughter. Odysseus advised the king to make all the suitors swear an oath to protect Helen and the man she married. The suitors agreed and thus accepted Menelaus when he was chosen to be Helen's husband. To show his gratitude, Tyndareus helped Odysseus win the hand of his niece Penelope, with whom the young hero had fallen in love. The couple returned to Ithaca, and Penelope bore Odysseus a son named Telemachus. he Trojan War. When the Trojan War began, Odysseus tried to avoid participating. An oracle had told him that if he went to war, he would be away for 20 years and would return a beggar. So Odysseus pretended to be mad and sowed his fields with salt instead of seeds. When officials came to fetch him, they suspected a trick so they placed the infant Telemachus in the field. Odysseus stopped the plow to avoid killing the child, something a madman would not have done.

According to the Iliad, Odysseus's role in the Trojan War was mainly as an adviser and speaker rather than as a warrior. He helped discover the whereabouts of Achilles* and convince the great hero to join the war. He tricked Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon*, into sending her daughter Iphigenia to be sacrificed to the goddess Artemis* so that the Greek ships would have good winds for their voyage to Troy*. When a go-between was needed to settle quarrels between Agamemnon and Achilles, Odysseus stepped in. He also spied on the Trojans and discovered their plans.

Renowned for his eloquent and persuasive speaking, Odysseus was called upon many times to give advice. Although he fought bravely, he preferred strategy to heroics. When the Greeks captured the Trojan prophet Helenus and asked what they must do to capture Troy, it was Odysseus who accomplished the three tasks that were set. He persuaded Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, to join the Greeks in battle. He used trickery to get Philoctetes, keeper of the bow and arrows of Hercules*, to join the fighting. He also used cunning to sneak into Troy and steal the Palladium, a statue of Athena believed to protect the city and bring it good fortune. Finally, Odysseus came up with the idea of pretending to sail away from Troy and leaving behind an enormous wooden horse—in which Greek soldiers were hidden. This trick enabled the Greeks to enter Troy at night and defeat the Trojans.

The Journey Home. After the fall of Troy, Odysseus set sail for Ithaca, but his voyage took ten long years because he incurred the anger of the sea god Poseidon*. His journey and adventures, described fully in the Odyssey, took the hero to many wondrous and dangerous places. Along the way, he lost all his companions and the treasure he had gotten from Troy Arriving home at last after an absence of 20 years, Odysseus had to defeat rivals trying to take possession of his wife and his kingdom. Then he had to prove his identity to his wife, Penelope.


Important Facts about Telemachus

Ithacan Prince, Telemachus was born on the day that his father was called to fight in the Trojan War. Attempting to renege on his oath to defend Helen, Odysseus sowed salt into his fields in feigned madness. When the emissary Palamedes, who has been sent to call Odysseus to battle, placed the infant Telemachus before the plow, Odysseus stopped, proving his sanity and obliging himself to the war.

After his father had been gone for nearly 20 years, young Telemachus came of age and was visited by Athena, who disguised herself as Mentor and advised him to travel in search of news of his father. He traveled to Pylos and Lacedaemon. Their rulers, Nestor and Menelaus, were very courteous. Nestor's son Pisistratus accompanied him on this search, however, they only find out that Odysseus is being held captive by Calypso. When he returns, he visits the swineherd Eumaeus under the prompting of Athena, and discovers that the beggar staying with the swineherd at the time is indeed his father. He then accompanies Odysseus and the swineherd into the hall where they kill all the suitors.

Telemachus's story is mostly separate from the actual main conflict of the story, but also potrays an important event for Telemachus. For most of his life, having been sheltered and raised by his mother and his nurse, he has not gained the masculinity that comes with adulthood. For instance, when Telemachus calls the people of Ithaca for council in the square, after telling the people of his plight, he bursts into tears. Athena pushes Telemachus off into his own transformation in the story.

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