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This paper looks at Margaret Atwood's text "Penelopiad" and discusses how the Canadian author uses her revision of the ancient tale of Odysseus and Penelope to offer a feminist counter-narrative to Homer's legendary myth. In particular, it discusses the double-standards, hypocrisies, and hierarchies which relegated the maids to second-class status (and also to death) and forced Penelope to wait almost interminably for a faithless husband. Finally, in addition to looking at the sexual violence that Atwood feels pervades the original narrative, the paper discusses the author's emphasis upon how women in the antique world of Homer were treated as reproductive vessels and little more.
From the Paper:"Another element of the new narrative, a narrative told exclusively from the perspective of women, is the manner in which sexual violence is addressed in Atwood's tale. It is not entirely clear if the suitors raped the maids and if these unlucky women are being killed simply because they are the victims of the wrong men. However, there is a point in the story when the Chorus exclaims, "If our owners or the sons of our owners or a visiting nobleman or the sons of a visiting nobleman wanted to sleep with us, we could not refuse. It did us no good to weep, it did us no good to say we were in pain" (Atwood, 13-14). When the "sins" of the maids are examined against this backdrop, it may be said that the new myth concocted by Atwood attacks the sexual violence that, for a whole host of reasons, Homer never finds the time to denounce (or even much care about) in his original work from roughly 2500 years ago. "
Sample of Sources Used:
- Atwood, Margaret. The Penelopiad. New York: Canongate Books. 2005.
Cite this Book Review:
"Penelopiad" (2008, March 25) Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/penelopiad-102441/
""Penelopiad"" 25 March 2008. Web. 19 April. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/penelopiad-102441/>