The Odyssey and the Penelopiad

The Odyssey is an epic poem written by the poet Homer and talks about the great adventures of Odysseus and The Penelopiad is a novel written by Margaret Atwood and talks about the wife of Odysseus while he was away. The two texts are written in very different times thus are written with very different attitudes towards social structure and gender relations due to different contextual values. The Odyssey talks about the importance of hospitality and male dominance whereas The Penelopiad rebukes the idea of male superiority and takes about the importance of the female voice.
Throughout The Odyssey hospitality is seen to be the only code of moral conduct that exists in the poem. Arriving strangers may be dangerous or harmless but often the strangers are wayfarers, in need of some assistance. This is seen in when Odysseus enters his own palace disguised as a beggar. Even though the Greek hierarchy followed showed that slaves and beggars were at the bottom, Ithaca’s tradition treats everyone who enters their palace the same way; be it a royal or a beggar, both are treated the same. This indicates that the people are civilised and disregard status when in relation to hospitality. This is further shown when Odysseus’ own home has been taken over by the many suitors who take advantage of Ithaca’s tradition of hospitality. This ‘invasion’ of the palace is used as foreshadowing as since the suitors take advantage of Ithaca’s they are later slaughtered by Odysseus and his son. This emphasises that hospitality is of great importance and is considered as an integral part of social structure in The Odyssey as disrespect to it lead to the death of many suitors.
Another part of The Odyssey that is based on a different attitude is the male dominance which is significant in the poem and is very noticeable. An example of this is seen while Odysseus is staying with Calypso on an island. Calypso is in love with Odysseus who is exhausted with the lifestyle in the island and longed...