The Odyssey: Faithfulness vs. Unfaithfulness
In The Odyssey, Homer presents a double standard to the reader. While the author really applause the men who are unfaithful to their wives, the women remain faithful to their husbands. This concept is shown through the epicâ€™s two main characters, Odysseus and Penelope.
Odysseus is unfaithful to his wife Penelope. Calypso, a goddess has captured Odysseus, the hero of Homerâ€™s epic poem, when his ship is blown off course. For seven years, she â€œkeepsâ€ him as her lover on her island, Ogygia. Although Odysseus longs for home, he does not truly resist nor object to her detaining him. Even when he knows he will be returning home the next day, he spends the time with Calypso, â€œâ€¦.and now, with drawing into the cavernâ€™s clear recesses lay in each others arms they lost themselves in love.â€(5.250-251) Odysseus tells Calypso , â€œlook at my wise Penelope. (his wife) She falls far short of you, your beauty, stature, she is mortal after allâ€¦.yet I pine all my days-to travel home and see the dawn of my return.â€ (5.239-241)
Ironically, Odysseus does not see himself as being â€œunfaithfulâ€ to Penelope. Odysseus sees Penelope as one of his possessions he will regain when he returns home. Even though Homer goes to great lengths to show Odysseus is a puppet who had really no choice, this does not minimize the hard fact Odysseus is not faithful to his wife, Penelope. Moreover, there is no clear evidence of Odysseus trying to outwit Calypso or Circe, the witch-goddess, who wants to take Odysseus as a lover in exchange for her help. In this epic, Odysseus is an intelligent man who is able to control his emotions and plan the best strategies to obtain his goal. Why doesnâ€™t
he think of a way to outwit Circe or Calypso? Instead, he almost meekly accepts this proposition without even considering Penelopeâ€™s