Describe the relationship between Odysseus and his wife Penelope both before and after the war in The Odyssey.

2 Answers

jdslinky's profile pic

jdslinky | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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The relationship between Odysseus and his wife Penelope is one of loyalty, love, and faith. Both characters are driven by these characteristics.

Odysseus displays his loyalty in his constant battle to get home to his wife. The entire journey consists of his reaction to one confrontation after another, including marriage offers and the promise of immortality from those who meet and fall in love with him (i.e. Nausicaa and Calypso). Penelope's loyalty is unwavering as she patiently waits for him while raising their son, all the while remaining faithful to him and refusing to take a suitor.

The love they share across the miles and over the years is a withstanding one-it sustains them both, as does the promise that they will be reunited. Their faith in the strength their marriage was built upon gets them through the most difficult parts of the journey/wait.


thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

I concur with Jdslinky, the relationship between Odysseus and his wife Penelope is anchored in love and loyalty. The couple goes through an extremely tough period when Odysseus’ journey back home from Troy is interrupted by significant delays. During that period, their relationship is put to the test, but eventually, the couple overcomes and the two are happily reunited.

There are a number of examples that show the strong marital values held by Odysseus and Penelope. Starting with Penelope, she fended off advances from the pesky suitors who were bent on marrying her. She was forced to employ her wit in order to buy some time, hoping that her husband would return. Penelope did not fall into temptation like Agamemnon’s wife, who together with her lover arranged the murder of her husband. On the other hand, Odysseus declined to marry Calypso and the goddess Circe both who took good care of him. Odysseus returned to his wife as promised despite overtures made by Circe and Calypso.