What archetype does Penelope represent?

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the name indicates, archetypes are ideal forms of a particular type or motif. In theĀ Odyssey, Penelope is the archetype of the "faithful wife." She waits twenty years for Odysseus, her husband, to return home to Ithaca.Ten of these years comprised the Trojan War; he was away from home, but she knew via correspondence that he was alive and planned to return.

However, during his "odyssey" to return home, she did not know whether he was alive or dead. Her house began to fill with suitors who desired to marry her, 108 in all. They began to pressure her to choose a husband, but she tricked them for several years, delaying their advances. She remained faithful even to the end, and her faithfulness was rewarded by the safe return of her husband.