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The Odyssey and The Penelopiad

            When one follows the connections between "The Odyssey" and "The Penelopiad," they may begin to form a greater sense of appreciation and understanding for the relationships and identities present in both texts. "The Odyssey" is a 12,000-line poem, written in 800BCE by celebrated Greek poet Homer. It tells the tale of the Greek warrior, Odysseus, and his perilous journey home following the sack of Troy. On the other hand, "The Penelopiad," written by Margaret Atwood in 2005, is a contemporary retelling of the Odysseus, from the perspective of Penelope. The story is comical parody of the original tale with Penelope narrating in the 'Underworld'. While it is based on events of Odysseus's excruciating adventure to return home, it's feminist representation of characters and themes set it apart from the original. The focus of this essay is to analyze the identities of the two focal characters Penelope and Odysseus and the relationship they share. .
             Odysseus is the protagonist of the story and "The Odyssey" and "The Penelopiad" depict two conflicting images of the central character. In the Odyssey, Odysseus bravery, wits and leadership, all of which he uses to get himself out of perilous situations are noted and commended. This is exemplified in the scene with Polyphemus, an evil Cyclops that planned on devouring Odysseus and his friends. His leadership skills are shown when he 'rallied all his comrades' and had his 'men clustering round' and all that before 'they all rammed it (olive stake with embers) hard.' The diction of words like 'comrades', 'men' and 'they' all display that Odysseus and his companions were a close-knit group and that his men followed his orders. Furthermore, Odysseus uses to his intellect to trick Polyphemus, humour is employed when Odysseus states his name is 'Nobody-that's my name. Nobody-so my mother and father call me, all my friends.

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