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Word Count: 1,322
Penelopes Perplexing Persona Things are not always as they seem at first glance particularly in the realm of behavior What appears to be the obvious reason for a course of action may not be the actual driving force behind it This is the case in Homers The Odyssey in which Penelope has multiple motivations for her conduct She is a multifaceted character who both faithfully supports Odysseus and simultaneously encourages the suitors for her own pleasures Penelope shows psychological ambivalence towards Odysseus homecoming On one hand her unconscious desires are for Odysseus to return home while on the other hand her psyche feels the need to be free of him She is unconsciously plagued to serve her duties as a faithful wife Her thought process is revealed when in Book Twenty she wakes up from sleep and begs the gods to kill her because she would rather die than have to marry a suitor Artemis- goddess daughter of noble Zeus if onlyyoud whip an arrow through my breast and tear my life out now at once Just so may the gods who rule Olympus blot me out Artemis with your glossy braids come shoot me deadso I can plunge beneath this loathsome earth with the image of Odysseus vivid in my mind Never let me warm the heart of a weaker man 2067-69 87-92 When Penelope says this she is speaking directly to the gods and to no one else so it is clear that her inner thoughts are being released Here Penelope adheres to the traditional Homeric mindset of a womans psychological role as an Angel of the Hearth Conversely Penelopes dreams reveal her desire to keep the suitors in the palace so that she can lure them Her psychological inclination to retain the suitors is clearly depicted in Book Nineteen in her dream about geese It foreshadows the suitors being killed by
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