Penelope, domestic power and the morality of deceit in Homer's Odyssey.

Jeremy, Clare Victoria (2012) Penelope, domestic power and the morality of deceit in Homer's Odyssey. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Abstract

Penelope’s use of trickery to delay her marriage to one of the persistent suitors of The Odyssey is, on the surface, exemplified by a ruse which is effective in its simplicity. The weaving, and subsequent un-weaving, of Laertes’ shroud is a brilliant ploy which successfully keeps the suitors at bay until the trick is revealed by one of her maids. This, however, is not the only example of Penelope’s ability to deceive. Although much has been made of the cunning and resourceful means by which Penelope, as the good wife, attempts to preserve the memory and physical household of her husband, it seems that little attention has been paid to her role her deceit plays in preserving her own status within the oikos. By raising my focus out of the physical boundaries of Odysseus’ palace and to a more abstract consideration of the concept of the oikos in Homer’s text it is my intent that this dissertation will overcome this barrier by focussing on Penelope’s actions in light of a marked distinction between her spiritual and physical presence. Deceit, I will argue, is the vessel by which Penelope remains both loyal to the abstract understanding of Odysseus’ oikos and empowered within its physical walls. As one of the primary themes of The Odyssey, my research will focus specifically on the examples of deceit which in some manner pertain to the notion of household integrity. It is by these means that I hope to establish a “Morality of Deceit” for instances where lying and deception are employed by the perpetrator solely to contribute to the integrity of the oikos. Placing Penelope in this context will allow an exploration of how both her fidelity and deceit, whilst morally in the service of the oikos, serve to sustain her domestic control over Odysseus’ physical household.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations;10412/254.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Homer, Odyssey
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2014 18:34
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2016 13:20
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/365

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