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Anne Nguyen

Miss Noyce
11 December 2014
The Odyssey Essay
Through works of literature, readers can understand the cultural values, traditions, and
expectations of the people of when the piece was produced. With the ancient Greeks, they are not
an exception. They also had cultural values. One of the cultural values they had was loyalty. This
can be seen in Homers The Odyssey. Odysseus and his wifes loyalty to each other represent the
conception of the ancient Greeks about loyalty between husbands and wives. There were many
instances in The Odyssey where Odysseus and his wife showed their loyalty to each other. The
ancient Greeks conception of loyalty was that even if the men were to be seeing other women,
they would still be thinking of their wives constantly. For the women, they were to not see other
men while they were married.
There were many instances in the book that showed Odysseus loyalty to Penelope, his
wife. He was constantly thinking about her whenever he made decisions. When Circe tried to
bewitch Odysseus by giving him the drug, she was then amazed that he wasnt affected. His
response to Circe showed his loyalty: But I wont agree to climb into your bed, unless, goddess,
youll agree to swear a solemn oath that youll make no more plans to injure me with some new
mischief (Ody. X. 306-309). His reply shows the loyalty he has to his wife in the way that he
wasnt willing to climb into Circes bed with her unless she agreed to not harm him in any way.

This shows his loyalty to Penelope in the way that if he were to get hurt, it wasnt likely that he
would be able to return to his wife. By having her agree to the solemn oath and climbing into her
bed, it was like a seal to the oath. The ancient Greeks didnt think poorly about men sleeping
with other women even though they were already married. The married men would still be
constantly thinking of their wives even though if its indirectly.
Similar to Odysseus, Penelope stayed loyal to him even though they havent been
together in so long by not seeing other men while he was away. Odysseus mother proves
Penelopes loyalty to Odysseus when he came to the Underworld, Hades home: You can be
sure shes waiting in your home, her heart still faithful. But her nights and days all end in sorrow,
with her shedding tears (Ody. XI. 155-157). The ancient Greeks believed that women should
always be faithful to their husbands, and Penelope did just that. Just like what his mother said,
her heart still faithful. Her nights and days all end in sorrow because she misses Odysseus. Her
nights and days end in her shedding tears. It proves that she thinks of him constantly, wanting
him to come back.
The conceptions the ancient Greeks has about loyalty was embodies by Odysseus and
Penelope. In the book, there were many occasions that showed Penelopes loyalty to Odysseus.
There were also many occasions in the book that showed Odysseus loyalty to Penelope.