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“The Odyssey” by Homer Discussion Essay

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Updated: Nov 13th, 2021


The “Odyssey” is a masterpiece believed to have been written by Homer. Most of events narrated in the poem describe the experiences of many ancient Greeks. The masterpiece focuses on the life of Odysseus. Many analysts and scholars have identified Odysseus as the ideal hero for the Greeks. Odysseus achieves many things for himself. He also does many things for his kingdom.

He also overcomes many adversaries throughout his life. With this knowledge, it is necessary to examine the role played by the other characters in the poem. Penelope was Icarius’ daughter. According to the Odyssey, Icarius was King Tyndareus’ brother. Most of Penelope’s achievements in the Odyssey show clearly that she lived up to the standard of an ideal Greek heroine. This essay begins by defining a Greek hero using various evidences from “The Odyssey”. The essay uses several examples to explain why Penelope should be treated as a heroe in the poem.

What Makes Penelope A Hero?

According to “The Odyssey”, the Greeks used certain traits and values to define their heroes. To begin with, a true hero is expected to safeguard his or her family. This argument explains why Odysseus is regarded by many as the ideal Greek hero. The same individual should also be spiritually upright. The person should have good relationships with different gods.

A true hero or heroine should also treat other people with respect. The hero should also focus on the best activities in order to safeguard the expectations of the greatest majority (Griffin 12). Most of the individuals who fulfill these required eventually become the favorite Greek heroes. The argument of this essay is that Penelope fulfills most of these traits and values.

Penelope is one of the key characters in the Odyssey. She is Odysseus’ wife although they have been separated for several years. She is also Telemachus’ mother. As portrayed in Homer’s poem, Penelope is always faithful to her husband. She is also a chaste wife. Throughout the epic, Penelope works hard in order to achieve her goals. This is true because she knows what she wants in life. This understanding encourages her to focus on her goals (Allen 8).

More about This Topic

Penelope is encircled by many suitors when her husband is away. The suitors convince Penelope that her husband is already dead. She promises to select another husband from these suitors. However, she has to fulfill several things before choosing the right man. For example, she agrees to select a new husband after completing a shroud belonging to her father-in-law. However, she uses a powerful stratagem whereby she unravels the shroud every night (Griffin 16).

She also decides to use another trick in order to get the right man. She promises to select the man who is able to bend Odysseus’ bow. Penelope knows clearly that only her husband is the only person who can win the archery contest.

This situation shows clearly that Penelope is not willing to have another husband apart from Odysseus. It is agreeable that Penelope has not seen her husband for many years. She uses several delay tactics in order to safeguard her marriage. She does not lose faith in Odysseus. This occurrence shows clearly that Penelope was clever (Allen 9). She uses various tactics in order to safeguard her marriage. This fact shows clearly that Penelope is an ideal Greek woman.

The Greeks focused on specific traits before making someone a hero or heroine. Different Greek epics and texts have treated Penelope as the ideal Greek heroine. To begin with, she possesses both the spiritual aspects of a true heroine. This is also the same case for Odysseus. For instance, a true hero should always be faithful to his wife. Odysseus knows very well that Penelope and his son are waiting for him.

On the other hand, Penelope knows that she is expected to remain faithful to her husband. This achievement explains why Penelope should be treated as a heroine. According to the poem, Odysseus “eventually returns home disguised as a beggar” (Allen 9). Odysseus wants to learn more about the kingdom before revealing his presence. Odysseus eventually wins the archery contest. He goes ahead to kill Penelope’s suitors and finally reunites with his wife.

The other achievement that shows clearly that Penelope is the ideal heroine is that she manages to safeguard her marriage. Towards the end of the epic, she does not find herself in conflict with any person or the gods. It is agreeable that Penelope uses the best strategies in order to reunite with her husband (Allen 11). This happens to be Penelope’s ultimate goal. This fact explains why Penelope is a highly honored and respected heroine.

Homer shows clearly that Penelope is a respectable woman who knows how to achieve her goals. It is agreeable that Penelope is unable to drive her suitors away. That being the case, she decides to use the best tactics as the heroine of the epic. She is also unable to accept any of the suitors to become her husband. This act shows clearly that she is strong compared to her cousins such as Timandra and Helen. Penelope focuses on her life. She also believes strongly that her husband is still alive (Griffin 17).

After reading the poem, it is also notable that the character has some flaws. This fact explains why Odysseus also has some flaws. For instance, Penelope is not always faithful to her husband. The fact that she allows the suitors in her home is something displeasing (Allen 8). She also tells lies to her suitors in order to buy time. It becomes quite clear that Penelope is a human being.

More on the Topic

That being the case, it is agreeable that humans tend to have some weaknesses. This fact explains why the reader should focus on Penelope’s achievements. It would also be agreeable that Penelope is always aware of her ultimate goal. This strategy makes it easier for her to achieve the best goals. She saves her marriage and eventually leads a happy life.


The above ancient Greek text highlights certain traits that can be used to define a hero. As mentioned earlier, a true hero must possess the required spiritual values. Penelope respects her husband despite being absent for many years. She is always faithful and fulfills the wishes of the gods. She also uses “the best strategies that eventually reveal her artful side” (Griffin 28).

From the above discussions and arguments, it is agreeable that this character lives to the standards of a Greek heroine. She deals with various adversities throughout her life. She is able to reunite with her husband after many years. Most of the evidences from different Greek texts show clearly that Penelope fulfills most of the qualities of a heroine.

Works Cited

Allen, Victoria. A Teacher’s Guide to the Signet Classic Edition of Homer’s “The Odyssey”. New York: Penguin Books, 2010. Print.

Griffin, Jasper. Homer: The Odyssey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

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