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The Odyssey

Homer
Summary

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

12) Why does Odysseus fail to reveal his identity to Penelope when they are first reunited?

Having been away from home for twenty years, Odyssey doesn’t immediately reveal his identity to Penelope because he needs to ensure that he can trust her and that she remains loyal to him. Suitors fill his palace, and though Penelope seems to care only for her husband, Odysseus has experienced enough treachery along his journey to know that she could be covering up deceit. While he doesn’t immediately tell her who he is, he does divulge to her, “I am a man who’s had his share of sorrows,” indicating that he wants to protect himself from pain.