"The Odyssey" Penelope's Reluctance

2108 words - 9 pages

"The Odyssey", an epic poem written by Homer in the 8th Century B.C., portrays Odysseus' homeward voyage as well as Odysseus' return home. In "Reunion", written by Louise Gluck, Gluck like Homer portrays Odysseus' return home after twenty years. "Reunion" works as a modern day interpretation in that it shows Odysseus' and Penelope's gathering after being apart for twenty years. Gluck portrays "Reunion" in a way that is simplistic and easy going in that Penelope believes in Odysseus right away, whereas Homer portrays a more realistic reuniting of the two in that Penelope is reluctant to believe that her husband is indeed home and alive after all of those years. Although Homer and Gluck h ...view middle of the document...

They can finally reunite as it once was twenty years ago. "Very delicately he signals to Telemachus/ to depart: as he stood twenty years ago, / he stands now before Penelope." (Gluck, ll. 4-6). Telemachus was brought out of the picture for a specific reason. Gluck does this on purpose because finally after all of this time waiting for Odysseus' arrival, the official family is together. Gluck brings Telemachus out of the picture so that the confrontation between Odysseus and Penelope can occur, because that is indeed what we all have been waiting for. By bring Telemachus out of the scene; the reader is extremely interested to see what will finally happen between Odysseus and Penelope. It heightens the suspense and gets the reader interested in what is about to take place. Lines 5-6 are especially symbolic because Odysseus has arrived home with the confidence he had twenty years ago. The same way he stood twenty years ago, he still stands before his beloved Penelope. Odysseus is indeed a strong character, and truly believes in himself and his family. Although lines 4-6 show us his confidence, they also show us Odysseus' respect towards Penelope. Odysseus will rather be alone with his wife so that he can get reacquainted with her after all their lost time. Odysseus spoke with Penelope alone so that he can truly express himself and show Penelope how much he really loves her.In Gluck's lines 7-8, Penelope uses symbolism through her words to portray a picture. "On the palace floor, wide bands of sunlight turning/ from gold to red." (Gluck, ll. 7-8). In this line, Gluck portrays a deeper meaning then is said, and uses colors to do so. The changes in colors are very symbolic in that they resemble the change in Odysseus journey and more importantly his life. Odysseus through out the Odyssey went through so much mentally and physically, but at the end overcame all his suffering. The colors are very symbolic and each represent something special and significant in Odysseus' life. Gold is a color of strength and wealth. That is what Odysseus represents mostly throughout his life. Eventually it changes to red, which is a color of death, blood, fire, and in a way hell. This is very ironic because in a way his journey symbolized this. The sunlight changes to red mainly to represent Odysseus' hardships, and his struggles. He first started off with everything in that he was powerful, handsome, and rich. Eventually Odysseus went on his journey and experienced many hardships along with many deaths, and eventually returned home safely back to his life or symbolically speaking back to the color gold.In lines 8-12, Gluck shows us Odysseus' kinder and gentler side. "He tells her/ nothing of those years, choosing to speak instead/ exclusively of small things, as would be/ the habit of a man and woman long together: / once she sees who he is, she will know what he's done." (Gluck, ll. 8-12). Instead of telling Penelope stories of his journey, Odysseus speaks to Penel...

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