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Shrouded in Love

John William Waterhouse-Penelope and the Suitors (1912)

 

In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope is the intelligent and faithful wife of Odysseus. While he goes off to war (taking twenty years to return), she waits and has to plan many diversions in order to delay marrying one of the 108(!) suitors who believe she is eligible to remarry. She pretends to be weaving a burial shroud for Odysseus's elderly father Laertes, claiming that she will choose a suitor when she has finished. Every night for three years, she undoes the part of the shroud that she had woven that day.

The story does see them reunited in the end so three cheers for weaving and patient women. Happy Valentine’s Day!



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