Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer

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In which parts of The Odyssey are women most discussed, such as the following quote from Telemachus to Penelope?

"So, mother, go back to your quarters, tend to your own tasks, the distaff and the loom, and keep the women working hard as well. As for giving orders, men will see to that, but I most of all: hold the reins of power in this house."

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Penelope has always fascinated me, because she is both a romantic and a pragmatist.  She stays faithful to Odysseus, but she also makes sure to take advantage of the suitors and what they can offer her while she waits, or in case her warrior does not come back.

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Keep in mind that not all of the women in The Odyssey are faithful or helpful to Odysseus and his men. In Book Ten, they encounter the sorceress Circe. She is a different kind of woman altogether. She has great power and is deceptive and deceitful. Odysseus is only able to defeat her with the help of other gods.

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