In Book 20 of "The Odyssey," how does Homer emphasize the special relationship between Odysseus and Penelope?

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rabinos eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main focus of The Odyssey is Odysseus's desire to return home to his wife and son after the Trojan War.His journey lasts for ten years, and although he is lured away from his goal many times, he always remembers that he loves his wife, and continues his journey, despite its pleasures and perils.

Odysseus is charmed and delayed by Calypso and Circe, who enchant him, diverted by The Lotus Eaters, survived the barriers set for him by his enemy, Poseidon, and outwitted the Cyclops who held him and his men prisoner. He survived the passage between Cylla and Charybidus, and a trip through the underground with one goal in mind: to return home to the only woman he loved, Penelope.

For her part, Penelope staved off the advances of the many suitors who had invaded her home in the hope of her declaring Odysseus dead, and marrying one of them. Their goal is to not only have a beautiful wife, but her property and wealth as well. To delay the suitors, Penelope tells them she must weave a burial shroud for her husband. She weaves the shroud by day and unravels it by night, prolonging the time when she will have to choose a suitor, and giving Odysseus more time  to return home.


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The Odyssey

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