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(Penelope:) ‘But come, handmaidens, give him a wash and spread a couch for him here, with bedding and coverlets and with shining blankets, so that he can keep warm as he waits for dawn of the golden throne, and early tomorrow you shall give him a bath, anoint him, so that he can sit in the hall beside Telemachos and expect to dine there; and it will be the worse for any of those men who inflicts heart-wasting annoyance on him; he will accomplish nothing here for all his terrible spite […].’ (19.317-325)
Penelope is so generous that she offers a nameless beggar a place by Telemachos’s side, simply for bringing her news of her husband.
(Penelope:) "Hear me, dear friends. The Olympian has given me sorrows beyond all others who were born and brought up together with me for first I lost a husband with the heart of a lion and who among the Danaans surpassed in all virtues, and great, whose fame goes wide through Hellas and midmost Argos; and now again the stormwinds have caught away my beloved son, without trace, from the halls, and I never heard when he left me. Hard-hearted, not one out of all of you then remembered to wake me out of my bed, though your minds knew all clearly, when he went out and away to board the hollow black ship. For if I had heard that he was considering this journey, then he would have had to stay, though hastening to his voyage, or he would have had to leave me dead in the halls." (4.722-735)
Talk about mom-guilt: Penelope actually says that, if she'd known Telemachos was going to head off on his road trip, she would have literally died. Is this an overreaction? Or is it honestly kind of justified—since without her son, she'd have no male protection?
Laertes mental anguish has rendered him immobile and ineffective.
(Penelope:) ‘How I wish chaste Artemis would give me a death so soft, and now, so I would not go on in my heart grieving all my life, and longing for love of a husband excellent in every virtue, since he stood out among the Achaians.’ (18.202-205)