Based on the epic simile, the reader should envision penelope as a queen who is

Penelope is a woman who is “unweaving the fabric of her life” and “the nimble shuttle that weaves and unweaves at her own free will” . 

She remains faithful to Odysseus, even though she is married to another man for 20 years.

The reader should envision Penelope as a queen who is weaving together the fabric of her life with the nimble shuttle that weaves and unweaves at her own free will. 

The words give us a sense of Penelope’s industriousness, but they also characterize how she runs through with the yarn in order to create something with it.

The true identity of Penelope is a mystery until the very end of the poem. It is hard to ascertain her motives and her true feelings until she finally recognizes Odysseus.

 We do, however, know that she has been busy weaving throughout the time she is living under the false identity of being an obedient wife to the suitors.

1. Odysseus, son of Laertes, and Penelope’s father, left for the Trojan War when Odysseus was 20 years old and Penelope 11. 

When Odysseus returned home at the end of the Trojan War, he found himself a stranger in his own land. Penelope was living with his remaining loyal subjects .

 This is where Zeus’ plot begins; by sending a plague upon the suitors and related evils to them , he plans to cause Odysseus to return home sooner than he had hoped.

At first, Odysseus seemed pleased to see his faithful wife again .

 Penelope embraced him and asked him to stay with her, but he would not because he was still wary of the possible outcome of the men’s attitude towards Odysseus’ return. 

2. Penelope is described as a “gentle” and “loving” wife .

Penelope is living an unfortunate life under the disguise of a loyal but resistant wife to the suitors that are ravaging his home. 

She is unable to express any true feelings of sorrow for what she is going through because she knows it will upset her husband and make him feel like she does not appreciate what he did for her .

3. Penelope is a woman who can “entice” her husband “into a house of sorrow” .

The way Penelope entices Odysseus into a house of sorrow is by professing to be an obedient wife, and then breaking the rules she has set forth for herself and the suitors. 

Penelope continually tells Odysseus that she loves him and would never leave him, even though she is living without him in his own home .

Often she does this when the suitors are in the house waiting for him to leave. She also “entices” Odysseus into a house of sorrow by lying to him and tricking him, then leaving him when no one is looking. 

Penelope is never able to give Odysseus the true penance he deserves because she is too busy avoiding being discovered and being forced to face the suitors.

4. Penelope expresses her gratitude for the great life that Odysseus has given her, even though she does not necessarily feel it .

Although she is experiencing pain and misery, Penelope constantly tells everyone how happy she is with what she has been given as a wife . 

She does not feel this way about her life, but she will not express any true feelings for the sake of making Odysseus happy.

5. Penelope is a woman who can “disobey” her husband without feeling guilty (1.176-8). 

Penelope is living with a man who is not her lawfully wedded husband. 

She has been able to “disobey” Odysseus without feeling guilty; she has strayed from the path of obedience yet has kept herself secreted away from everyone.

6. Penelope is a woman who has “great heart” (1.192).

Penelope expresses her feelings of pain and misery with great selflessness. She does not care about herself; she cares more about her husband’s needs and desires to return home. 

7. Penelope proves that she can be “unweaving the fabric of life” (1.288).

Penelope is experiencing what it means to be “unweaving the fabric of life.”

 She realizes that while she may be complying with the orders given to her, she should be able to doze off at night without having to worry about whether or not someone will harm or kill us next, but this is not the case for her. 

She realizes that if she performs admirably at her job, this will only result in more work for her. Ultimately, she must find a way to balance her life so that it is not all work and no play.

8. Penelope is a woman who “leaps from bed” to relieve herself of the burdens of the day (1.307).

Penelope’s husband is gone and she is living with men who want to control every aspect of her life. 

She can never sleep well because she has to constantly be on guard for whether or not someone will come in and hurt her or kill her when no one is around (1.303-6). Because of this, Penelope “leaps from bed.


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