Penelope And Odysseus Essay

1112 words - 5 pages

Marriages consists of two lovers who never forget each other no matter how long it's been and no matter how much they’ve changed. They know things about each other that no one else does, sometimes they even have secret signs that only the other will recognize. This is the same case for Penelope and Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey; even though they have been apart for almost 20 years, and Odysseus is in disguise, Penelope still recognizes him. In their conversation, Odysseus drops clues that only Penelope would recognize and says things to make her suspicious causing her to realize that Odysseus finally came back.
If you saw someone 20 years ago, how good would you remember them? what they were wearing? how good they looked? Probably not so well. If someone actually manages to do so, that can raise some eyebrows. No one man gives that much attention to what another man was wearing to remember detail for detail after 20 years. During the conversation between Odysseus and Penelope, Penelope tests him by asking about what Odysseus wore. Then the beggar Odysseus replies with exactly what Odysseus wore. “he was wearing a heavy woolen cape, sea-purple, in double folds, with a golden brooch to clasp it, twin sheaths for the pins, on the face a work of art: a hound clenching a dappled fawn in its front paws, slashing it as it writhed. All marveled to see it, solid gold as it was, the hound slashing, throttling the fawn in its death-throes, hoofs flailing to break free.” (19.260-265). Odysseus is trying to send a message to Penelope, trying to tell her that its Odysseus. He does this by giving too much detail about what Odysseus wore trying to make penelope suspicious, trying to make her realize that no one but Odysseus himself would remember it detail for detail. This causes penelope to realize that its him and she replies “I am the one, myself, who gave him the very clothes that you describe.
I brought them up from the storeroom, folded them neatly fastened the golden brooch to adorn my husband.”(19.291-294). Now penelope is trying to signal to odysseus that she knows it's him by emphasizing “I” and trying to show him that she remembers. Her response to beggar Odysseus’s description of Odysseus shows that she indeed does recognize that it is odysseus in book 19 of the Odyssey.
Towards the end of the conversation between Penelope and Odysseus, it can be seen that Penelope knows to whom she's talking to. Her sudden decision to wed the man who wins the nearly impossible archery contest shows that she knows that the beggar is odysseus. she says “I mean to announce a contest with those axes, the ones he would often line up here inside the hall, twelve in a straight unbroken row like blocks to shore a keel, then stand well back and whip an arrow through the lot. Now I will bring them on as a trial for my suitors. The hand that can string the bow with greatest ease, that shoots an arrow clean through all twelve axes— he’s the man I follow”(19.645-651)....

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