The Wine Red Sea:  Journeys of Odysseus
© Copyright 2014 - 2018 by Peter J Ponzio

The Goddess and the Prince, Book I

Throughout the first twelve books of the poem, the reader follows the development of Telemachus and Odysseus’ journey home.  But one character remains at home, never doubting the fact that her husband will return to Ithaca.  Of course, that person is one of the most remarkable heroines in literature-the incomparable Penelope.  As she hears a song of the Trojan War performed by a bard at a feast prepared by the suitors, she cries out: But break off this song- the unendurable song that always rends the heart inside me. . . the unforgettable grief, it wounds me most of all! How I long for my husband-alive in memory always, that great man whose fame resounds through Hellas right to the depths of Argos! (1, 391-396) After Penelope's lament, Telemachus breaks in, bolstered no doubt, by his conversation with Athena: So, mother go back to your quarters. Tend to your own tasks, the distaff and loom, and keep the women working hard as well. As for giving orders, men will see to that, but I most of all: I hold the reins of power in this house. (1, 409-414) Not only Penelope, but the suitors were shocked at this change that came over Telemachus, recognizing, perhaps for the first time, that the boy was becoming a man, and was therefore dangerous.
Penelope and the suitors