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Ancient Civilizations: Odysseus’ Loyalty to Penelope Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Aug 24th, 2021

Homer, in his epic The Odyssey tells the story of the heroes of Trojan wars and the most enchanting of all the themes of the classic work is the loyalty of Odysseus to his wife Penelope, even when he enjoys the company of nymphs like Circe and Calypso. Odysseus, the Trojan hero and the protagonist of the epic by Homer exhibits vast amount of piety, manly valor and intelligence, and, most remarkably, loyalty to the nation as well as to his own wife.

It is the power of this heavenly quality that keeps him devotedly bound to Penelope and their son even while he enjoys the company of Calypso and Circe. The loyalty of this Trojan hero for his wife is evident from his great longing to return to his wife and son when he was trapped on the island of Ogygia with the beautiful nymph Calypso and the same characteristic feature drove him all the way home at the end of a long journey in which he needed to confront all lots of dangers and troubles. “Odysseus is a “perfectly” moral man by Greek standards. In the Calypso episode, Odysseus demonstrates the value of faithfulness, and in the Circe episode, he illustrates Greek values in general.” (Essay on Circe and Calypso. 2006).

Therefore, it is most remarkable that, though Odysseus willingly enjoys the company of Circe and Calypso beds down with them, he is, by the Greek standards, truly faithful and loyal to his wife Penelope.

The loyalty that Odysseus has for his wife is evident from the reply to Calypso’s offer to “stay where you are, keep house along with me, and let me make you immortal, no matter how anxious you may be to see this wife of yours, of whom you are thinking all the time day after day; yet I flatter myself that at am no whit less tall or well-looking than she is, for it is not to be expected that a mortal woman should compare in beauty with an immortal.” The true hero’s reply to this offer is most commendable, “do not be angry with me about this. I am quite aware that my wife Penelope is nothing like so tall or so beautiful as yourself.

She is only a woman, whereas you are an immortal. Nevertheless, I want to get home, and can think of nothing else. If some god wrecks me when I am on the sea, I will bear it and make the best of it. I have had infinite trouble both by land and sea already, so let this go with the rest.” (Homer 2000).

The faithfulness of the Trojan hero towards his wife can be very well seen in his longing to reach home to Penelope even after a long troublesome journey of ten years.

When we consider the question how Odysseus maintains loyalty to his wife even while he enjoys the company of Circe and Calypso, the significant character traits of Odysseus along with the standards of Greek needs to be kept in mind. Loyalty is the most reputed value for Odysseus and any person disloyal to Odysseus loses his life. “Immortal woman like Athena, Circe, and Calypso were treated with more equality and respect by a man than any other mortal woman, but due to the love and respect that Odysseus has for Penelope, he rightfully treats her as his equal. Loyalty is the prime character trait that Odysseus looks for in any of his companions… Odysseus will treat the people that are loyal to him with kindness and respect. Penelope is a prime example of loyalty and fidelity.” (Free Reports, Term Papers & Research Paper Database. 2005).

The same reason draws the Trojan hero to his wife in Ithaca, at the end of a long, trying, and dangerous journey of ten years following the Trojan War, without submitting to the immortal beauties of Circe, and Calypso for long.

Works cited

Essay on Circe and Calypso. Odysseus: A Mere Mortal, But Purely Moral. 2006. Web.

. 2000. Web.

Free Reports, Term Papers & Research Paper Database. Free- termpapers.com. 2005. Web.

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