Penelope True Identity In Homer's The Odyssey

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A secret, a piece of information withheld; knowledge unknown by others. Throughout The Odyssey by Homer, the intuitive Penelope masters the art of keeping her massive secret. Penelope’s well-kept knowledge is seen only by the reader when it is slyly revealed in certain scenes. Only the intellect of Odysseus’ own wife could be cunning enough to unearth the true identity of the strange beggar: to discover the guest is Odysseus. Penelope’s slip of the tongue in Book 19 reveals to the reader that she recognizes the stranger as her long-lost husband Odysseus. Penelope corrects herself while maintaining composure, Eurycleia, rise and wash your master’s - that is, Wash the feet of this man who is your master’s age. (Homer 19.387-388) Although Odysseus and Eurycleia completely miss the simple lapse, Penelope corrects herself realizing she almost revealed her knowledge. Penelope’s nearly addressing a beggar as Eurycleia’s “master”, her husband,…show more content…
In a light sleep, Odysseus reveals to the reader he knows the secret Penelope holds, He felt in his heart she knew him already And was standing beside his head. (20.101-102) Up to this point in the epic, the idea that Penelope knows Odysseus’ identity has only been interpreted. Odysseus’ strong feelings are important because he is extremely intelligent. Odysseus’ wit makes it likely his feeling is more than a just a feeling, but he has reasons to believe that his wife is aware of his identity. This scene reassures the audience that Penelope is aware who the beggar truly is because Odysseus feels it himself. Among many desirable physical characteristics, Penelope’s ability to discover Odysseus’ identity proves her incredible intelligence. Penelope’s clever demeanor allows her to keep her secret knowledge, and ultimately stand victorious with her husband and son over the suitors who had once tormented her

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