Study Guide

The Odyssey The Bed

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The Bed

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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.

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