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Odysseus and the Suitors


Odysseus is a Greek story passed to generations through poetry and movie. Odysseus got lost and left behind his beautiful wife Penelope. During that time, his wife faced several difficulties for twenty years, especially from various suitors. Penelope felt lonely since she had no hope of meeting her husband again. In addition, she did not know where her husband had gone. Lack of knowledge on her husband’s whereabouts had put more fear in her for many days. She could barely tell whether her husband was alive or dead. This situation made many young men think that a young and pretty queen would suit them; thus, they beset Penelope as a valuable prize. Such suitors pestered her to declare Odysseus dead and to choose a new husband.

Several young men became a nuisance to the palace by loitering around, eating the queen’s food as well as consorting with her palace maidservants. Odysseus’ mysterious fate made Penelope despondent about his absence. She believed her husband could come home someday, thus putting the competing suitors for her hand in marriage at bay. Moreover, she looked forward to a brighter future. However, she was prepared for the worst, putting into consideration that Odysseus might fail to come back home. Penelope discouraged the suitors, but her tactics failed with time because her husband delayed returning to Ithaca. Odysseus’ parents had not seen their son for long, and they would wish to know his mysterious fate. That experience was so traumatising that Odysseus’ mother, Anticlea and his father Laertes died of grief.

Finally, the suitors were surprised when Odysseus returned to Ithaca alone. Athena camouflaged Odysseus as an old beggar when he reached Ithaca. He was welcomed by his old swineherd, Eumaeus, who never recognised him, but maintained their mutual relationship. Argos, one of Odysseus’ loyal dogs was the first to recognise him on his arrival. Odysseus maintained his cover through to the dog’s death, for he did not want to get discovered. He eventually revealed his identity to his son Telemachus. Throughout Odysseus ordeal, he was mistreated by the suitors. It was interesting to note that after he had revealed himself, the people were still loyal to him as their master. Odysseus was only trying to see the selfish nature of human beings, and that was why he failed to reveal his identity. He wanted to understand the nature of the people of Ithaca, especially over a period that he was not around.

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