How is the character of Penelope portrayed in the Odyssey?

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How is the character of Penelope portrayed in the Odyssey?

In Book 4 when Penelope finds that Telemachus has left Ithaca and that when he returns the suitors planned to kill him she is described as anguished and weeping bitterly. She is upset over Odysseus’ disappearance and Telemachus’ situation appears to be more than she can cope with. She is loyal to Odysseus saying that she “hates” the Suitors pursuit of her, showing that she has no intention to marry them. Her loyalty to Odysseus would have been seen as incredibly noble to an ancient audience. She is shown to be very emotional, and Athene often tries to comfort her using dreams or by sending her to sleep. This shows that Athene cares about Penelope and her happiness, and to the Greeks being worthy of the God’s interference meant you were special. Her emotions also mean that she is sometimes excluded from plans, however. For example, Telemachus doesn’t tell her when he is leaving because he fears she will be too upset, showing her fragile emotional state.

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On the other hand, Penelope also displays cunning and wit, and is not always helpless. For example, she often uses clever tactics to delay the suitors proposal’s to her. She believes she cannot reject them outright, and the Suitors see themselves as the victims of this situation, telling Telemachus that “it is your own mother, that incomparable schemer who is the culprit.” This is because she said she would marry one of the suitors after she had woven a funeral shroud for Laertes, but every night she would undo what she had done that day, until she was caught. This ...

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