In my presentation, I will discuss the role played by Clytemnestra in the Odyssey and how Clytemnestra’s actions reflect on the character of Penelope. Although it may seem that Clytemnestra serves merely to create tension over the issue of Penelope’s fidelity, the situation is more complex; Clytemnestra is virtually absent from the first several accounts of Agamemnon’s death, and does not come to the forefront until nearly halfway through the poem. Penelope, similarly, is portrayed as a relatively weak and passive character in the early books of the Odyssey, but near the end emerges as a strong, active character whose choices are key to determining Odysseus’ fate.
My presentation will discuss the ways in which the different versions of Clytemnestra’s story in the Odyssey serve to set up and then subvert audience expectations about the role played by women in the poem. I will then discuss the poem’s portrayal of Penelope, and the many ways in which she serves as a mirror of Clytemnestra.
Ashley Flanagan, ’06 Carencro, LA
Sponsor: Kirilka Stavreva