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Who is Melantho?

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Melantho is not a well-known character in the poem. She is Penelope’s maid and the sister of Melanthius in Odyssey. In the poem, Melantho betrays Penelope. She appears to be more loyal to the suitors. The maid is sharp-tongued and ungrateful in her actions towards the queen.

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Melantho is one of the less-known characters in Greek mythology. She is a goatherd who lives in Ithaca. She serves in Odysseus’ palace as Penelope’s maid. The queen treats the girl as her daughter and often gives her presents and trinkets. At the same time, Melantho proves to be disloyal to Penelope and her husband, Odysseus. To begin with, she sleeps with one of the suitors in Odyssey, Eurymachus. In doing so, she enrages the king of Ithaca and loses his trust. This episode shows Melantho as light-headed, vain, and ungrateful.

In another episode, she shows a negative attitude toward Odysseus. The king is disguised as a beggar. Along with her brother Melanthius, Melantho treats the poor man harshly. She does not recognize him and talks rudely to her king. Melantho’s sharp tongue and disloyal actions cost her a life. Once Odysseus learns which maids had affairs with the suitors, he hangs them.

To summarize, Melantho in Odyssey is a maidservant. Her careless attitude and rudeness led her to death. The queen favors her, but the maid’s actions indicate disrespect. Despite Penelope’s kindness, Melantho’s affair with Eurymachus shows her true nature. She shows disloyalty towards the queen and the household. Being insensitive and ill-mannered, Melantho loses Odysseus’ trust. She gets hanged among other traitors by order of the king of Ithaca.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Who is Melantho'. 28 January.

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