World Literature to 1660
The Odyssey: Penelope and the Suitors


Odyssey:Background on Troy
The Odyssey: Fantastic Voyage
The Odyssey: Penelope and the Suitors
Metamorphoses:Daphne and Apollo
Metamorphoses: Pygmalion and Galatea
The Aeneid

"Penelope and the Suitors" by John Waterhouse
Penelope deceived the suitors through her weaving. (art courtesy of

Entrance of the suitors, Book One
translation by Samuel Butler
Then the suitors came in and took their places on the benches and
seats. Forthwith men servants poured water over their hands, maids
went round with the bread-baskets, pages filled the mixing-bowls
with wine and water, and they laid their hands upon the good things
that were before them. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink
they wanted music and dancing, which are the crowning embellishments
of a banquet, so a servant brought a lyre to Phemius, whom they
compelled perforce to sing to them. As soon as he touched his lyre and
began to sing Telemachus spoke low to Minerva, with his head close
to hers that no man might hear.
  "I hope, sir," said he, "that you will not be offended with what I
am going to say. Singing comes cheap to those who do not pay for it,
and all this is done at the cost of one whose bones lie rotting in
some wilderness or grinding to powder in the surf. If these men were
to see my father come back to Ithaca they would pray for longer legs
rather than a longer purse, for money would not serve them;

"Penelope" by John Spencer Stanhope
Penelope despairs of her husband's return, yet always hopes..