Compare and contrast the wives of Odysseus and Agamemnon.

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Agamemnon's wife, Clytemnestra, conducts an affair with a man called Aegisthus while Agamemnon is away,fighting in the Trojan War. Agamemnon is the commander of the Greek forces. He sacrifices their daughter, Iphigeneia, in order to ensure Greece's success in the war, angering his wife. Clytemnestra then murders him with the...

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Agamemnon's wife, Clytemnestra, conducts an affair with a man called Aegisthus while Agamemnon is away,fighting in the Trojan War. Agamemnon is the commander of the Greek forces. He sacrifices their daughter, Iphigeneia, in order to ensure Greece's success in the war, angering his wife. Clytemnestra then murders him with the help of her new lover upon his return home. As a result, her name becomes synonymous with infidelity and betrayal, and her son with Agamemnon, Orestes, grows up to avenge his father by killing his mother and her lover.

Penelope can also be cunning, but she is incredibly loyal to Odysseus, unlike Clytemnestra. By the end of The Odyssey, Odysseus has been away from home for nearly twenty years. No news of him has reached his wife in all this time, and all other survivors of the war have returned. Nearly everyone believes that Odysseus is dead, and many suitors have encamped at Odysseus's home and have been attempting to woo Penelope and coerce her to remarry. Penelope is often referred to as "heedful" because her obedience and wifely loyalty help to establish her as a model wife. Though she uses her cunning to trick the suitors and buy herself some time—telling them she cannot marry until she weaves a death shroud for her father-in-law, and then undoing her work each night—she does so in service to her husband.

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