Odysseus or Penelope

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Category: Literature

Date Submitted: 10/23/2013 04:46 PM

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Hubris, selfishness, and arrogance, these are just some of the few traits that doesn’t make Odysseus a hero. He knew all his men were going to die while he survived and yet, he still made them come back home with hope of making it back. If Odysseus was a true hero, he would’ve found a way to save himself and his men or sacrifice his life for his men’s. Odysseus constantly lies to his supposed friends and family plus cheats on his wife for over seven years. In the Odyssey, it is not Odysseus who is the hero, but his wife, Penelope. Penelope is the true hero in this epic because she is loyal, clever, and a good mother.

Men from all over Ithaca were trying to wed Penelope so they themselves could be king. Penelope didn’t give into these for twenty years while her husband was with Circe, Calypso, and probably many other women. “At home indeed your mother is, poor lady still in the women’s hall. Her nights and days are wearied out with grieving.” This shows that even though there are many suitors, Penelope still loves her husband and wants him back. “He has spent ten years (seven of them as Calypso’s not entirely unwilling captive) trying to get home.” Odysseus spends seven years with Calypso and even though he really wants to go home to his wife and son, he also wants to stay with Calypso. Penelope has spent the last twenty years fighting off men and Odysseus sleeps with Calypso for seven years. “Penelope, like many unwilling princesses of myth and fairy tale, proposes an impossible task for those to wish to marry her.” Penelope will do anything in her willpower to not cheat on her husband. She gives an impossible task so there is no way that anyone will be able to marry her except Odysseus. Penelope is a good wife and a hero for fighting off all the men that want to marry her. “Place it outside the bedchamber my lord built with his own hands. Pile the big bed with fleeces, rugs, and sheets of linen.” This shows just how clever and smart Penelope is because she...