The Odyssey Penelope Quotes Page 1
(Penelope:) '[…] and now again a beloved son is gone on a hollow ship, an innocent all unversed in fighting and speaking, and it is for him I grieve even more than for that other one, and tremble for him and fear, lest something should happen to him either in the country where he has gone, or on the wide sea, for he has many who hate him and are contriving against him and striving to kill him before he comes back into his own country.' (4.817-823)
Poor Penelope. She lost her husband and now her son—it's too bad she didn't have a daughter who could stay safely inside and spin all day with her. (Except for the whole super-high risk of dying in childbirth problem.
(Penelope:) 'Eurymachos, all my excellence, my beauty and figure, were ruined by the immortals at that time when the Argives took ship for Ilion, and with them went my husband, Odysseus. If he were to come back to me and take care of my life, then my reputation would be more great and splendid.' (18.251-255)
Odysseus isn't the only one with pride. Penelope has pride in herself, too—or she has pride in her husband. Her own sense of self seems to be totally bound up in him, which, for an Ancient Greek woman, makes total sense.
(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)
Penelope essentially says she would have let her son sail only over her dead body. She is angered not only by his absence, but by the deception that hid his departure from her. Moms will be moms.