Penelope's Storage Room Secrets

what does penelope take out of the storage room

In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope is the queen of Ithaca and the wife of Odysseus. She is known for her fidelity to her husband, despite the attention of over a hundred suitors during his absence. To delay remarriage, she devises a plan to weave a burial shroud for Odysseus's father, Laertes, and claims that she will choose a suitor when she has finished. However, every night for three years, she undoes her work, until a slave discovers her trick and reveals it to the suitors. Eventually, she announces that whoever can string Odysseus's bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axe heads may have her hand in marriage. She takes the bow and arrows out of the storage room to present to the suitors.

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What does Penelope take out of the storage room? Odysseus' bow and arrows

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Why does Penelope take out Odysseus' bow and arrows?

Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, retrieves her husband's bow and arrows from the storage room as a means to discern the suitors from the true Odysseus. It is important to note that this act is steeped in symbolic significance and serves a strategic purpose in the narrative.

Firstly, the bow and arrows represent Odysseus' prowess, strength, and identity as a hero. By taking out these weapons, Penelope intends to use them as a test, challenging the suitors to prove their worth and establish their claim to power. This act becomes a pivotal moment in the story, allowing Penelope to separate those who are truly capable and worthy of succeeding Odysseus from those who are merely pretending or seeking to take advantage of his absence.

Secondly, Penelope's action is driven by her loyalty to Odysseus and her desire to maintain her fidelity. By taking out the bow and arrows, she intends to remind the suitors of the high standards set by her husband and to convey that only someone akin to Odysseus in skill and valor would be worthy of succeeding him and winning her hand in marriage. This serves as a subtle yet powerful way to honor Odysseus and uphold his legacy during his prolonged absence.

Moreover, the retrieval of the bow and arrows symbolizes Penelope's agency and strategic thinking. By setting up this challenge, she gains some control over the situation, delaying the suitors' advances and maintaining her loyalty to Odysseus. This act also showcases her intelligence and understanding of what truly matters in a leader or a potential suitor—not just charm or wealth, but the ability to embody the qualities that Odysseus represented.

Lastly, the bow and arrows hold a deeper significance as a symbol of Odysseus' connection to the gods. In ancient Greek culture, archery often carried divine connotations, and the ability to wield a bow with skill was seen as a gift from the gods. By bringing forth these weapons, Penelope not only tests the suitors' physical prowess but also implicitly challenges their divine favor. This adds a layer of spiritual legitimacy to the eventual outcome, as the true successor to Odysseus would not only possess skill but also earn the blessing of the gods.

In conclusion, Penelope's act of taking out Odysseus' bow and arrows serves multiple purposes. It is a means to honor her husband's legacy, test the suitors' worthiness, and buy herself time. This act becomes a pivotal moment in the narrative, allowing Penelope to assert her agency and uphold the high standards set by Odysseus during his absence, ultimately leading to the revelation of the true hero.

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What is the prize for the contest?

In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope, the queen of Ithaca, is known for her fidelity to her husband, Odysseus, despite the attention of over a hundred suitors during his absence. After Odysseus's return, disguised as an old beggar, Penelope announces that whoever can string his rigid bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axe heads may have her hand in marriage.

The prize for the contest is, therefore, Penelope's hand in marriage. This is a turning point in the plot of the Odyssey, as it allows Odysseus to reveal his identity and triumphantly return to his wife and son.

Penelope's suitors are unable to string the bow, but Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, successfully performs the feat. He then proceeds to slaughter the suitors with the help of his son, Telemachus, and two slaves. After revealing his true identity, Odysseus and Penelope are reunited, and they spend a blissful night together, exchanging stories of the past twenty years.

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What problem do the suitors face?

In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope, the queen of Ithaca, is besieged by 108 suitors who wish to marry her while her husband, Odysseus, is away. The suitors are described as rude, slovenly, disrespectful, and ungrateful. They drink wine, eat food, and slaughter livestock while residing in Odysseus' home. Penelope, displeased by their presence, devises a plan to delay their courtship. She declares that she will only choose a suitor after weaving a funeral shroud for Odysseus' father, Laertes.

The suitors' main problem arises when Penelope announces that she will marry the suitor who can string Odysseus' bow and shoot an arrow through a line of twelve axes. This contest is a significant challenge for the suitors, as they are unable to string the bow. One by one, they all try and fail, including Telemachus, Penelope's son. The suitors warm and grease the bow to make it more supple, but to no avail.

Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, asks to try the bow, and the suitors complain, fearing that he will succeed. Antinous, the most disrespectful among the suitors, ridicules Odysseus, saying that he is drunk and will bring disaster upon himself. Despite the opposition, Odysseus easily strings the bow and shoots an arrow through the twelve axes. This marks the beginning of the suitors' demise as Odysseus, now revealed, slaughters them with the help of Telemachus, Athena, and the slaves Eumaeus and Philoetius.

The suitors' inability to string the bow and their subsequent failure in the contest set in motion their downfall and ultimately lead to their deaths at the hands of Odysseus and his allies.

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How does Odysseus prove his identity?

In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus proves his identity to his wife, Penelope, in several ways. Firstly, he strings and shoots an arrow with his old bow—a task that Penelope had set for her suitors, which none of them could complete. With the help of his son, Telemachus, and two slaves, Eumaeus and Philoetius, he then slays the suitors. However, Penelope is still not convinced and gives him another test. She asks her slave, Eurycleia, to move the bed in their bridal chamber, knowing that it cannot be moved as one of its legs is a living olive tree. Only Odysseus knows this, and he protests that the bed cannot be moved. Finally, Penelope accepts that he is her long-lost husband.

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What does Odysseus ask the suitors?

In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope, the queen of Ithaca, is renowned for her fidelity to her husband, Odysseus, despite the attention of over a hundred suitors during his absence. After Odysseus departs from Ithaca to fight in the Trojan War, leaving behind his newborn son Telemachus and Penelope, he does not return to Ithaca until ten years after the war's end. During his long absence, young unmarried men begin to suspect that Odysseus died and, under the pretext of courting Penelope, they take up residence in his home.

Penelope devises a plan to stall their courtship, claiming she will choose a suitor once she has finished weaving a funeral shroud for Odysseus's father, Laertes. Every night for three years, she undoes part of the shroud, until her slave Melantho discovers her deception and reveals it to the suitors.

When Odysseus finally returns home, disguised as a beggar, he asks the suitors if he can try to string his bow. The suitors all fail to string the bow, but Odysseus easily succeeds, shooting an arrow through twelve axe heads. This feat reveals his true identity as the king of Ithaca, and he proceeds to slaughter the suitors with the help of Telemachus, Athena, Eumaeus, and Philoetius.

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Frequently asked questions

Penelope takes out Odysseus' bow and arrows.

The winner of the contest will get to marry Penelope.

The suitors are unable to string the bow.

The suitors must string Odysseus' bow and shoot an arrow through 12 lined-up axes.

Penelope devises cunning tricks, one of which is pretending to weave a burial shroud for Odysseus' father Laertes. She claims that she will choose a suitor when she has finished.

Written by
  • Lara Beck
  • Lara Beck
    Author Home Renovation Professional
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