Penelope In Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad

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In the everyday world, people tell lies for assorted reasons. Maybe they are afraid of what will happen if they tell the truth, or maybe they just do not want to damage their pride. One of these people is Penelope, a character in Margaret Atwood’s feminist, satirical novel, The Penelopiad. In the novel, Atwood gives a voice to Penelope, an unheard yet fundamental character of “The Odyssey.” However, the narrative of Penelope is full of the deception that is also present in ordinary life. As a result of Penelope’s first person narration, the reader only experiences one perspective, and so Penelope gets to create her own truth that manipulates the story. Therefore, what she says should not be taken at face value. Penelope is not telling the truth because “The Odyssey” and the narrative of the maids differ from her…show more content…
While the maids voice their opinion about Penelope and pretend to be her, they display their viewpoint on what Penelope’s actual actions are: “Point out those maids as feckless and disloyal, / Snatched by the Suitors as unlawful spoil” (Atwood 150). In other words, the maids accuse Penelope of saying awful things about them so that they are killed. Again, the rhyming shows that the maids claim this, not Penelope. Their perspective is that Penelope turned on them when Odysseus returned home, even though she loved and supported them. Based on what they know, they conclude that Penelope indirectly tells Odysseus to kill them; she does not want them to share her secrets. However, Penelope’s stance is that Eurycleia tells Odysseus to kill the twelve maids without her input. There is no proof the maids have ever lied, and they have nothing to lose, so they should be trusted more than Penelope. Thus, Penelope does not tell the truth about what happens regarding their deaths. Although, the maids are not the only ones who have a different story than Penelope, “The Odyssey” does
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