Who are the female characters in The Odyssey?

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As The Odyssey takes place over many years and miles, there are a number of female characters that feature in the story.

I agree that Penelope is one of the most important female figures in this epic, and she is one of the few female heroes in Classical literature. One of the defining aspects of being a heroine is that, rather than the brute strength and battle courage displayed by male heroes, Penelope is often characterized as very cunning. She is extremely loyal to her missing husband, and deploys several schemes in order to ward off the suitors who come while Odysseus is away. Odysseus is constantly worried about her faithfulness despite his own multiple sexual encounters, and the fear of a wicked wife is enforced in his journey to the Underworld. He talks to Agamemnon, who was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra upon his return from the Trojan War. With this in mind, Penelope as a female character influences Odysseus to hide his initial return to Ithaca in order to assess the current...

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