The author of the “Odyssey”, best known as Homer was born in Smyrna, Turkey between 12th and 8th centuries BC. He was believed by the ancient Greeks to have been the first and greatest of the epic poets. Another of his great work was “The Iliad” which also had huge impact around the world. It is believed that the Odyssey was composed near 700 B.C., somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia. The poem mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus and his journey home after the fall of Troy. In ancient cultures women were considered to be intellectually weak and therefore inferior to men. In fact they were seen as objects and were given little voice, if any, in major decisions. On the other hand, man were considered stronger and most likely subject to leadership. In the “Odyssey of Homer”, Odysseus who is the main character was known for his intelligence and cleverness as well as the strongest character. However, his wife Penelope is clearly much stronger and intelligent than him. She demonstrated to be an independent woman with a lot of skills and extremely brave during the troubles she faced on her own through difficult times while her husband was away. In addition, she showed that the categorization of “women are weaker than men” is totally wrong and that a woman can face a difficult situation better than men. In fact, a close examination on Penelope’s actions shows that in most cases man who look as the cleaver one is in reality weaker than the woman who is always categorized as fragile.
Penelope illustrates tremendous braveness in that she remains loyal to her husband while he was away even after suspecting his death. Odysseus left to fight in the Trojan War, leaving behind his wife Penelope and new son Telemachus, and ends up staying away for twenty years. Through all that time, Penelope remained faithful to him and never failed him in anyway. In book 19, Penelope states “Therefore, I pay no attention to strangers, nor to supplicants, nor yet to heralds, who are in the public service, but always I waste away at the inward heart, longing for Odysseus”. (285) In other words, there’s no place for any other man in her life because she only has eyes for her missing husband. Therefore, she never submits to the whims of the suitors begging for her hand in marriage and only finds ways to make them leave her. While Penelope overcome her temptation of being with any of her suitors, Odysseus, in the other hand, who was supposed to be a determinate character, committed adultery against his wife with different woman. An example of his disloyalty was his relationship with the nymph Kalypso which lasted seven years. In book 5, Odysseus tell Kalypso, “I myself know that all you say is true and that circumspect Penelope can never match the impression you make for beauty and stature. She is moral after all, and you are immortal and ageless” (93). Not only did he have an affair but also belittled his wife in the eyes of Kalypso. Surely, he demonstrates weakness and lack of determination when he is faced with sexual temptation. Penelope instead, demonstrated to be very committed towards the love for her husband.
Throughout “The Odyssey,” the narrator consistently refers to Penelope as “wise Penelope,” because she is truly cunning and intelligent. In fact, not only she proves to be stronger than Odysseus by showing that she can be loyal in all circumstances but also very rich in wisdom. Odysseus and Penelope were both very clever; they used strategies and tricks to archive what they desired and to turn things in their favor. However, Penelope’s intelligence was superior to Odysseus. The most notable example of Penelope’s cunning comes from her efforts to delay the suitors by manipulating them without causing chaos. “Young men, my suitors now that the great Odysseus has perished, wait, though you are eager to marry me, until I finish this web, so that my weaving will not be