The Penelopiad Essay

716 words - 3 pages

As my topic I choose the comparison of Margret Atwood’s story The Penelopiad, and its view of the killing of the maids and the one from the Odyssey. I choose this topic because it is a true conflict. Odysseus comes back after 20 years to reclaim his rightful place as king and he finds that his house is turned upside down. He wants revenge and he gets it in the most disgusting, heart wrenching way possible. On the other hand Penelope is dealing with the backlash of this rage and the guilt she’s feeling because of what was done to the people she was put in charge of and who were only following her orders.

In the Penelopiad, Penelope has just awoken the next day after the mayhem with the suitors and with the Maids. At first she can’t remember anything but when her memory returns she calls Eurycleia. She has learned that Odysseus is back; the suitors are dead, and some choice maids as well. As she hears the story from Eurycleia, one of ...view middle of the document...

She feels guilty and decided that there is nothing that she can do but sulk.

In the Odyssey, Odysseus comes home to find that the suitors that want his wife have overrun his house. They have beat Telemachus, abused his servants and have mistreated him as a poor man. Once Odysseus shows his true self he then confronts the suitors about what have they been doing to his house and wife. The suitors don’t believe Odysseus because he has not been around for years. They are told that the only person who can shoot a bow throw 10 axes is Odysseus. Odysseus proves them right and now all the suitors believe him. The suitors become angry because they have been betrayed. The fight begins and Odysseus joined by Telemachus has now killed all the suitors using axes, bow and arrow and their hands.. Odysseus then releases the maids form there chambers and asks to be shown the maids who have betrayed him. He is shown the group of maids that slept with, talked to, and served the suitors. He then orders them to clean up the brains and blood off the palace floor. After that is finished he orders Telemachus to hang the maids. Telemachus does not obey and decided to use a harsher form of a killing and chops the maids in to pieces. Odysseus takes revenge on the maids because he feels that they betrayed his household and him.

In this scenario I believe that Odysseus and Telemachus were a little harsh because the maids were only doing what they were told. I believe Penelope should have been able to choose who was killed and the maids should have been able to plead their case. The suitors however where handled very properly. In both instances though I think the intentions were good, Penelope was trying to decide on the correct suitor without having to deal with them herself or having to feel guilty because she in some way had left her husband. Odysseus was trying to get his home back and to get his wife and servants back in order. He did that by doing what he thought would work. All in all I think that Odysseus was harsh and that Penelope should have chosen a different way to find out information about the suitors or should have explained the plan she was trying to execute to Odysseus when he returned.

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