In in the household, Penelope maintains her role as


an epic poem, The Odyssey, by Homer, Odysseus
struggles to come back home while his wife, Penelope, faces barbarous suitors
who plague her house to court her for the marriage in order to claim the kingship
of Ithaca. With an absence of the man of the household and a son who is not old
enough to rule over the country and handle the domestic complications, Penelope
endeavors to keep the household orderly and civilized. In order to prevent further
chaos in the household, Penelope maintains her role as the Queen of Ithaca and
Odysseus’s wife through her loyalty and cunning.

a woman who does not know whether her husband is alive or not, Penelope is
extremely strong to keep hope and wait for Odysseus; thus, her unwavering loyalty to her husband keeps the
household stable. She remains faithful in the absence of her husband,
unlike Clytemnestra. Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra,
commits adultery when Agamemnon leaves to fight in the war of Trojan. She even
plots against her husband and kills him when he comes back home. Her course of
action consequently leads to the collapse of Agamemnon’s
household with the death of the man of the household and the disappearance of
the heir to the throne. However, Penelope’s loyalty to Odysseus is never
questioned. For example, when she sees a beggar transforming to Odysseus, she
decides to test him about the bedroom built around the olive tree branches,
which is the information that only they know, in order to assure that the man
in front of her is truly her husband. After hearing Penelope tells the maid to
move the bed, Odysseus becomes furious and retorts that the bed cannot be moved
by anyone as he builds it with his own hand. Upon hearing that answer, which
confirms that he is truly the man she has been waiting for 20 years, she
answers, “In my heart of hearts I always cringe with fear/ some fraud might come,
beguile me with his talk;/ the world is full with sorts,/ cunning one who plot
their own dark ends” (Homer, The Odyssey,
23.213-216). Her words demonstrate how she is so frightened by a thought of her
betraying Odysseus. She takes cautions in everything she does to guarantee that
her household does not belong to any man other than Odysseus. The household
defines Penelope who she is and her rank in the house, and with its
destruction, Penelope would lose her identity as Odysseus’s wife; hence, she protects
it by staying faithful. Penelope fulfills her role of Odysseus’s wife with her
courage to remain loyal and determination to keep the household in order. 

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