Penelope (Greek Πηνελόπη, Homer also Πηνελόπεια ) In Greek mythology, the mother of Telemachus, the wife of Odysseus and. Her parents are Ikarios and Periboea ( notwithstanding this, also Astrodia is called as mother). The name is supposedly composed of the Greek words πήνη ( Pene = tissue) and λέπειν ( lépein = tear, peel off ).

Penelope, a Spartan princess, was the pattern of a faithful wife. She knew her numerous suitors, which mainly Antinous and Eurymachus belonged, during the wanderings of her husband to put off by pretending it needed to weave a dead cloth for her father Laertes. But at night they separated again and again what she had woven during the day. This went on for over three years, well until the faithless servant betrayed Melantho and the suitors they surprised in their nocturnal goings ( Odyssey II 93-110; XIX 134-156 ).

The Odyssey ends with the return of Ulysses (on the Penelope had to wait 20 years ), and the punishment of the suitors and the disloyal servants. As the reunited after such a long time married couple got along, was already thought about it in antiquity.

After the death of Odysseus Penelope married his son Telegonus he had fathered with the sorceress Circe during his wanderings, and was by him the mother of Italo. Penelope received by Circe immortality.


Alessandro Scarlatti's opera Penelope la casta was premiered late 17th century in Italy. Gabriel Fauré wrote an opera called Penelope, which premiered in Monte Carlo in 1913. Rolf Liebermann's Penelope ( Opera semiseria, libretto by Heinrich Strobel, UA at the Salzburg Festival in 1954), the woman at the center of the action. A story that tells of a modern perspective and in contrast to the fate of the Odyssey, Penelope, is The Penelopiade by Margaret Atwood. Inge Merkel processed the material in her novel in 1987 entitled A very ordinary marriage. Odysseus and Penelope.