Odysseus and Penelope

PenelopereturnOdysseus and Penelope’s story is the ultimate example of waiting for your love to return.  Shortly after their marriage, Odysseus is drafted into the Trojan War.  The war lasts for 10 long drawn out years.  After the Greeks win, Odysseus is so happy at the thought of returning home that he forgets to give thanks to his personal goddess Athena.  Athena punishes him by having him wander the world struggling to get home for the next 10 years. He struggles to get back to his wife and home.  He refuses eternal life with a sorceress for Penelope.  Although he may have stumbled in his relations with the sorceress and others, his main objective was to return to his wife.  Meanwhile, Penelope waits patiently for her husband to return and is a great example of never losing hope. The entire time Penelope is visited by over 100 suitors begging to take the place of her husband.  She puts them off saying over and over again that until her tapestry is completed she will not choose among them.  What she does not say is that she unravels her work every night before she goes to bed to give her husband more time to reach her.  She is a loving and faithful wife through it all.  She spends 20 years waiting for her husband, raising her son, and making sure her husband’s kingdom functions while its men are away.  She never considers taking the offer of any of her suitors.  When Odysseus finally returns and he finds his home overrun with suitors, he has a moment of doubt about his wife’s faithfulness but is soon corrected.  The suitors have found out Penelope’s secret and demand that she pick a new husband.  With the knowledge that her husband has returned, Penelope asks the suitors to complete an archery feat.  They have to hit the center of a target while shooting through the rings on the end of fighting axes.  Each ring is about the size of a half-dollar, and their arrow has to fly through the row of rings and land in the center of the target.  None of the suitors can complete this task.  Odysseus, in disguise, makes the shot and with his son’s help rid the home of all the suitors.  After 20 long and lonely years, the couple is finally where they want to be, back in each other’s arms.

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