Thursday, 11 October 2012

Character Thursday: Penelope

This week I'd like to take a figure of a great queen, the Queen of Ithaca – Penelope. She is the wife of Homer's hero Odysseus. She is perhaps the role model of women in ancient Greek – beautiful, skilful, wise, and most importantly, loyal.

Penelope was left at home with the baby Telemachus when her husband went to war. Ten years passed, and Odysseus still had not come home. Many people had, though, such as Nestor and Menelaus, safe and sound, to their own realm. Then another 10 years passed. Now Telemachus has become a good-looking youth, just like his father. But he still needs experience and also guidance to become a hero and a great king. That is one problem.

Another thing, many suitors plague the palace of Odysseus. They want Penelope to marry one of them. These shameful suitors say nothing when reproved. What should Penelope do?

“So by day she’d weave at her great and growing web—
by night, by the light of torches set beside her,
she would unravel all she’d done.”

She promised the suitors that she would marry one of them once she has finished the garment for Laertes. But it was actually a trick. She weaves by day and unravels all by night. Thus she tricks the suitors for three years long. Then they find out.

She at last consents to marry one of them if he could bend a bow which is Odysseus'. No one, of course, can do it but Odysseus himself. It's like saying, “I would marry one of you if he could equal my late husband, which is incomparable among men.”

When her husband finally comes home, though, in all splendour and majesty that is his, she refuses to instantly believe that it is so. She is convinced that her husband is dead, and therefore, fearing that it might be a god who tries to trick her, she puts her husband to a test.

“Come, Eurycleia,
move the sturdy bedstead out of our bridal chamber—
that room the master built with his own hands.
Take it out now, sturdy bed that it is,
and spread it deep with fleece,
blankets and lustrous throws to keep him warm.”

The fact is, nobody can move that thing. It's a secret between them, that the bedstead is unmovable. Thus she proves that both of them are still loyal to each other. It's actually a grand love story inside a fierce and nasty epic.

Another thing. Homer makes a great distinction between Penelope and Helen. Penelope says herself that she puts her husband to the test because she knows what happened to Helen of Troy.

“Remember Helen of Argos, Zeus’s daughter—
would she have sported so in a stranger’s bed
if she had dreamed that Achaea’s sons were doomed
to fight and die to bring her home again?”

It is also heart-touching to read how day by day she weeps for her husband, thinking that he might be dead. Penelope, Penelope, you are indeed a great queen and a good wife.


Character Thursday
Adalah book blog hop di mana setiap blog memposting tokoh pilihan dalam buku yang sedang atau telah dibaca selama seminggu terakhir (judul atau genre buku bebas).
- Kalian bisa menjelaskan mengapa kalian suka/benci tokoh itu, sekilas kepribadian si tokoh, atau peranannya dalam keseluruhan kisah.
- Jangan lupa mencantumkan juga cover buku yang tokohnya kalian ambil.
- Kalau buku itu sudah difilmkan, kalian juga bisa mencantumkan foto si tokoh dalam film, atau foto aktor/aktris yang kalian anggap cocok dengan kepribadian si tokoh.

Syarat Mengikuti :
1. Follow blog Fanda Classiclit sebagai host, bisa lewat Google Friend Connect (GFC) atau sign up via e-mail (ada di sidebar paling kanan). Dengan follow blog ini, kalian akan selalu tahu setiap kali blog ini mengadakan Character Thursday Blog Hop.
2. Letakkan button Character Thursday Blog Hop di posting kalian atau di sidebar blog, supaya follower kalian juga bisa menemukan blog hop ini. Kodenya bisa diambil di kotak di button.
3. Buat posting dengan menyertakan copy-paste “Character Thursday” dan “Syarat Mengikuti” ke dalam postingmu.
3. Isikan link (URL) posting kalian ke Linky di bawah ini. Cantumkan nama dengan format: Nama blogger @ nama blog, misalnya: Fanda @ Fanda Classiclit.
4. Jangan lupa kunjungi blog-blog peserta lain, dan temukan tokoh-tokoh pilihan mereka. Dengan begini, wawasan kita akan bertambah juga dengan buku-buku baru yang menarik


  1. Yep, one of the many great characters in The Odyssey. I admire how she kept her faith in her husband. Ten years in waiting, not knowing what had happened to him, whether he was still alive or dead. And all those time she kept her faith. Great woman!

  2. Very true. She's adorable. And I love how she takes precaution and tests her husband before really accepting his homecoming.