Abstract

In 1950 Philip Whaley Harsh suggested tht Penelope in book 19 of the Odyssey first suspected that the stranger in the palace was her husband. The standard interpretaion of Penelope's recognition of Odysseus would have us believe that she does not recognize him until book 23. The time of Penelope's recognition, however, can only be determined in how the Odyssey is read. Is the Odyssey a straightforward story or does it have subtlety and sophistication that requires reading between the lines to determine the actors' motives for their actions? Why does Penelope suddenly desire to show herself before her hated suitors in book 18? Why does Penelope fail to ask the stranger what he knows about her husband's whereabouts in book 19 when that was the purpose of the interview? Why does she ask the stranger to interpret a dream that she supposedly had when the dream is self-interpreting? Why does she decide to hold a contest with the bow with her as the marriage prize when she has been told that her husband is near? These are some of the questions the present paper attempts to answer while suggesting that Penelope suspects that her husband may have returned in disguise as early as book 17 and confirms his identity in book 19.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 1-75
Launched on MUSE
2011-04-22
Open Access
No
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