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Penelope weaving, with her suitors at the window. (Penelope and the Suitors, by J.W. Waterhouse)

Penelope is a woman from the Greek mythology. She is the wife of Odysseus of Ithaca and mother of Telemachus. She became a symbol for the faithful wife.

When her husband Odysseus was on his long journey home, many people thought he was dead. Because of this, many suitors came who wanted to marry Penelope, because then they would own her land and wealth, and become king of Ithaca. Penelope thinks of several tricks so that she does not have to marry one of the suitors. One trick is that she tells the suitors that she will first weave a cloth for the funeral of Odysseus' father, and when she was finished she would marry one of the suitors. But every night she undoes her weaving again, so that she never finishes it.

When Odysseus finally comes back after twenty years, he and his son Telemachos kill the suitors.

Sources[change | change source]

  • Richard Heitman 2005. Taking her seriously: Penelope and the plot of Homer's Odyssey. Michigan University Press, Ann Arbor. ISBN 0-472-11489-1.