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Word Count: 1,459
Penelope the wife of Odysseus can be contrasted in various ways to the other characters in Homers poem The Odyssey In many ways Penelope embodies the ideal woman in that she conforms to the values and ideals of her society These ideals include faithfulness loyalty willpower long-suffering pride in ones home and family and hospitality to strangers The majority of the other characters in the poem lack one or more of these attributes Although Odysseus proves to be a character of strong will and determination throughout the Trojan War and the trials he endured at sea he demonstrates weakness and wavering resolve when he is faced with sexual temptation For example when enticed by Circe to mingle and make love Odysseus submits to her appeals and enters her flawless bed of love thus committing adultery against his wife Penelope Book X When Circe tells Odysseus to remain with her he could not help consenting Odysseus remains with Circe and continues to be unfaithful to Penelope for the duration of a year It is only after hearing the appeals of his men that Odysseus decides to head back out to sea Later Odysseus has another adulterous relationship with the nymph Kalypso This relationship endures for seven years Throughout his stay on Kalypsos island Odysseus weeps for Penelope yet he continues to lie with Kalypso every night Book V In contrast Penelope exemplifies tremendous will power and resourcefulness in that she remains faithful to Odysseus throughout his exile While awaiting her husbands return Penelope endures perpetual insolence and sexual advances from the suitors who invade her household Penelope rebuffs the advances of the suitors and remains a devoted and faithful wife Deferring the suitors is no easy task therefore Penelope is very resourceful and goes to great lengths to postpone marriage to one of them She puts the men off for three years by promising to marry one of them upon her completion of a burial
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