From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Bed

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

(Click the character infographic to download.)

Odysseus and Penelope don't just sleep on some compressed particle board from Ikea. Nope. Not this ancient Greek power couple. They sleep on a bed carved into an honest-to-Zeus olive tree. Listen to Odysseus describe it:

There was the bole of an olive tree with long leaves growing strongly in the courtyard, and it was thick, like a column. I laid down my chamber around this … Then I cut away the foliage of the long-leaved olive, and trimmed the trunk from the roots up, planning it with a brazen adze, well and expertly, and trued it straight to a chalkline, making a bedpost of it, and bored all hones with an auger. (23.190-288).

We think you can probably figure this one out for yourselves, but we'll spell it out anyway: the bed represents Odysseus and Penelope's marriage. It can't be moved. Bam.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement