Western Civilization 1
27 October 2013
The Penelopiad is a fiction novel based on an ancient Greek myth, written by Margaret Atwood. It is narrated by the main character Penelope, wife of Odysseus. The main focus of this book is to tell readers the Greek myth of Odysseus and Penelope. It’s hard to tell what actual life as a woman back in Ancient Greece might have been like, but this book gives readers a good idea of how it might have been based on ancient Greek myths.
The story of Penelope is narrated by her from Hades. She replays her life of when she was alive in Sparta. The book focuses on how life was for Penelope before her marriage to Odysseus and after she becomes married to him. She tells us of the intense struggles she went through since shortly after their marriage, Odysseus had to go out to war during the time of the Trojan war. Penelope unlike her beautiful cousin Helen of Troy was a very average, plain looking girl. Throughout Penelope’s life she was haunted by the beauty of her cousin Helen. It was rubbed in her face by not only Helen herself but every other who knew of her. For a nobly born woman there was a contest held by the king. Whoever won the contest would win the woman and was to stay in the bride’s father’s palace and contribute his fair share of ale offspring. Any man who was to win the contest and win the bride would inherit all the riches and wealth that was in the family. There was a contest to win Penelope held at her father’s kingdom. All the maids would dress Penelope and stand around and gossip about which man they think will win her. At this time of course Helen shows up to strut past all the men and entice them. In one chapter of the book titled “Helen ruins my life”, it specifies how much havoc Helen causes during the Myth. Although the novel is about Penelope, Helen is a big part of it. She is mentioned and referred to very frequently throughout the book.
At the time of the...