Penelope and the Hero Pattern

Penelope’s father was Icarius, king of Thestios in Aetolia (2). According to one myth, her mother was Polycaste, the daughter of Lygaeos (1). According to another myth, her mother was the Naiad (sea-goddess) Periboea. (5). Nothing is known of her childhood (9), but on reaching adulthood her father proposes a foot race as a suitor contest to select his daughter’s husband. Odysseus wins the race and Penelope chooses to return with him to Ithaca rather than live in her father’s house (10).

After a long struggle with the suitors (11), she is reunited with her long-absent husband Odysseus (12), remains mistress of his house (13) where, for a time, she prescribes laws (15) until, according to some myths, she loses favor with Odysseus because of her adultery with the suitors (16) and is sent into exile or killed (17) by her husband. Her tomb is sometimes said to be in Mantinea (22).

In another myth Odysseus is accidently killed by Telegonos (his son by Circe) who takes his father’s body and Penelope to Circe’s island, where he marries Penelope and Circe transports them both to the Land of the Blessed (18).

13 points

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