Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade November 2001

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The Examination of Loyalty and Infidelity The Odyssey presents contrastingly different views into the marriage relationships. Homer reflects through his characters the idea of loyalty and infidelity where by he allows us to witness the trials of spouses with these issues. By examination of the two prominent marriage relationships in the Odyssey, we will compare and contrast the themes of faithfulness.

The Odyssey first gives sight to the relationship between the hero and adventurous Odysseus and his forever-faithful wife Penelope. Interestingly enough, the reason for Penelope's suffering and longing for her husband is due to the infidelity of Helen to her husband Menelaos. Odysseus sets off for war at Troy and is gone from his family in Ithaca for close to twenty years. During these years his wife along with his young son Telemachus is left to protect their kingdom and belongings from the demanding suitors.

The stress that Penelope endures due to Odysseus' absence continues on through out the first twenty chapters.

Because of her strong faith that her husband will one day return to her, she vows to reject any suitor wishing to marry her. This loyalty to her husband is accomplished by great measures with the help of her son and the maids, but consequently creates many problems.

In creating a loom, as means of prolonging her unwanted marriage to a suitor, Penelope promises the suitors her hand once she finishes weaving. Years have passed since Odysseus left, so many assumed he died on the sea. Penelope therefore must satisfy the eager men and thus she tells them, "Let me finish my weaving before I marry." Her heart aches in longing for her husband and is felt by us when she continuously cries herself to sleep. The unraveling of the loom every night exemplifies her...