The Penelopiad: Legendary heroes

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The Penelopiad: Legendary heroes

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Jun. 2, 2014, 12:00pm

Dante famously placed his version of Odysseus in the Inferno, having read mainly The Aeneid, which also isn't really that favorable towards him as a moral figure (or the Greeks in general for that matter). By reinterpreting the storyline from the perspective of Penelope, is Atwood making a unique claim about these male legendary heroes?

Jun. 2, 2014, 10:46pm

An important thing to remember about Greek legends is that there was no one authorized version. Different cities had different versions. and the poets were free to interpret events and characters within the general accepted pattern. One wouldn't have a Greek play in which the Trojans won, for instance, but even Homer shows us both sides.

Jun. 3, 2014, 1:20pm

They most certainly did, and so did Roman reinterpretations. When it comes to Odysseus, though, I feel like he's had it worse off than Achilles in the tradition since Homer. He's definitely not the most judeo christian guy.

Jun. 4, 2014, 6:02pm

I don't think her claim is unique. More the stereotypical male -- womanizing, controlling, in charge, my-home-is-my-castle sort of guy and women need to stroke their egos by being enthralled with their every word, demure, sexually available always but staying faithful to them while playing stupid. Of course, women are always smarter when they play this game.

oh no she di'int!


Jun. 7, 2014, 3:10pm

One would hardly expect Oydsseus to display Judeo Christian values. The values of his culture are courage in battle, hospitality, loyalty, piety, rhetorical skill. The Greeks were the enemies of the Trojans and Virgil was claiming a Trojan prince as the precursor to Rome, so the Greeks have to be the villains of the piece.

Jun. 10, 2014, 9:42am

I thought Odysseus came off much better than the other Greek leaders in The Iliad. He didn't sacrifice his own daughter or sulk in his tent, for example.

Also, the Trojans were victimized by one of their own--Paris--who gets dissed by just about everyone, including Helen, as a good-for-nothing pretty boy.

Bearbeitet: Jun. 10, 2014, 5:59pm

Let's remember that the helpless-without-her-man meme has been a cultural mainstay for all of recorded history. It's being challenged now, and certainly we 'moderns' think we're all past that, but as recently as 50 years ago "My Boyfriend's Back" (sound familiar?) was Billboard #1 for three weeks running. I'll follow Matthew's lead and let everyone judge for themselves just how much it remains a firm part of our culture.
He went away and you hung around

And bothered me, every night

And when I wouldn't go out with you
You said things that weren't very nice
My boyfriend's back and you're gonna be in trouble

You see him comin' better cut out on the double

You been spreading lies that I was untrue

So look out now cause he's comin' after you
(Hey, he knows that you been tryin')

(And he knows that you been lyin')
He's been gone for such a long time

Now he's back and things'll be fine

You're gonna be sorry you were ever born

Cause he's kinda big and he's awful strong

(Hey he knows I wasn't cheatin'!)

(Now you're gonna get a beatin'!)
(What made you think he'd believe all your lies?)

(You're a big man now but he'll cut you down to size

(Wah-ooo, wait and see)
My boyfriend's back he's gonna save my reputation

If I were you I'd take a permanent vacation

Yeah, my boyfriend's back

Look out now, yeah, my boyfriend's back

I could see him comin'

So you better get a runnin'

Alright now

{fade} Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

My boyfriend's back now

Know he's comin' after you

Because he knows I've been true now
{"He's been gone for such a long time ... If I were you I'd take a permanent vacation." Who needs Iliad summaries?}

Jun. 11, 2014, 10:20am

Brilliant, Dave!

Jun. 11, 2014, 10:56am

>7 dave94703: That's perfect.

Jun. 12, 2014, 9:14am

>7 dave94703: Wonderful! But now that song is stuck in my head ...