The Odyssey has much to teach us about the feminine psyche. The feminine psyche is the way that the female mind and soul react to and process situations. Females are generally faithful, giving, and respectful to their mates. We have an insight into the feminine psyche in several things that Penelope does. The weaving and unweaving of the shroud and the test of the bed are two examples of the way Penelope thinks. She does what is thought to be her duty to her husband to resist the suitors and remain faithful and loyal to her husband.
Homer reveals the feminine psyche in Penelope, a loving and faithful wife to Odysseus. She was loyal to Odysseus the entire time he was away on his journey, and even when it appeared that he would not return she still had faith that he would. Penelope resisted the advances of the suitors because she loved Odysseus and could not see herself with another when he could still be alive. She was smart and cunning when it came to resisting the suitors. Penelope shows us an insight to the feminine psyche when we learn she has avoided having to choose a new husband by telling the suitors she would choose a one of them once she finished the shroud she was weaving for Odysseus? father. Penelope worked all day on the shroud and would unravel the weaving by candlelight at night while the suitors slept. This shows her dedication to Odysseus and that she does not want to tell the suitors no and be disrespectful to her guests. Odysseus was ??blessed in the possession of a wife endowed with such a rare excellence of understanding, and so faithful to her wedded lord?? ( ). This is a great example of the feminine psyche. She was ultimately devoted to her wedded husband and did what she had to do to remain faithful to him.
Another example of the feminine psyche in the Odyssey could be the test of the bed. When Odysseus finally returns to Ithaka and reveals himself to the Penelope she has doubts that it could actually be him,
??If really he is Odysseus, truly home,
beyond all doubt we two shall know each other
better than you or anyone. There are
secret signs we know, we two.??(318)
This statement reveals her loyalty to Odysseus and the special bond they share. She is telling the reader that if this is actually her wedded lord that he will know things that no other man will know. When the time comes for Odysseus to rest Penelope orders Eurykleia to make his bed outside the bedchamber. At this moment Odysseus goes into a rage over the moving of this bed that he carved from an olive tree, saying that ?? No builder had the skill for that-unless/a god came down to turn the trick.?? (319) Odysseus is telling Penelope that no man could move the bed that he built for his bride.
?Their secret! as she heard it told, her knees
grew tremulous and weak, her heart failed her.
With eyes brimming tears she ran to him,
throwing her arms around his neck, and kissed him? (320)
At this moment Penelope has realized that this is her dear Odysseus. She has spent these last decades remaining faithful to her husband and he has finally returned. This is an example of her psyche. The suitors pursued her, they overtook her home, and her housemaids discovered her unraveling the shroud. She could have easily given up and married a suitor to end the pain, but she did not and her king finally returned. Penelope is the picture of the faithful, loyal and respectful wife.
The Odyssey is an epic that has much to teach its readers about the feminine psyche. Penelope is one woman in the Odyssey that shows the reader into the mind of females. The feminine psyche is a complex idea that has changed drastically throughout time. During the time of the Odyssey the females were loyal, faithful, and ultimately respectful of their mates. Penelope?s actions are a prime example of the feminine ideas in Odysseus? time.