The Odyssey

by: Homer

Penelope Quotes

Quotes Penelope Quotes
Three whole years
I deceived them blind, seduced them with this scheme.

When Penelope tells her story to the “beggar” (Odysseus in disguise), she cannot help boasting a little about her ability to deceive the suitors. This shows us two ways Penelope is like her husband: first, she’s a skilled deceiver, and second, she’s proud of it. Penelope also has a sense of humor. By saying she “seduced” the suitors she highlights the irony of the fact that her deceitful behavior was motivated by faithfulness to her husband.

Your heart was always harder than a rock!

Telemachus says this line to his mother, He is appalled when Penelope refuses to embrace Odysseus at once after their long separation. His complaint that she was “always” hard suggests a long-standing tension between mother and son.

You look—how well I know—the way he looked,
Setting sail from Ithaca years ago
Aboard the long-oared ship.
Come, Eurycleia,
Move the sturdy bedstead out of our bridal chamber.

These lines set up Penelope’s test for Odysseus, to discover if the man in front of her is really her husband. She drops the command to move the bed into the middle of a longer speech, giving Odysseus no clue that the statement is meant as a test to see if he knows the bed can’t be moved. Penelope’s cunning reminds us that she and her cunning husband are soulmates at the moment when they are reunited.