2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

'Metis' in a Woman: Penelope of Homer's Odyssey
Sarah A. Spradling
Dr. Molly K. Herbert, Faculty Mentor

The ancient Greek term 'metis', commonly translated as the quality of cunning intelligence, was often used by Homer to describe the Trojan War hero Odysseus in the epic poem Odyssey. For his skill in battle, oratory prowess, and uncanny ability to be incredibly crafty, Odysseus was revered as a cult hero throughout ancient Greek times. His wife Penelope was also admired by the Greeks for using her own trickery to avoid meddling suitors pushing her to remarry in Odysseus absence. However, in the poem, Penelope compares herself to Clytemnestra, who was not faithful to her husband Agamemnon and devises her own devious trap to murder her husband so she can continue relations with her new lover. This paper will explore the concept of 'metis' in ancient Greek works of literature, and how cunning intelligence can either be a positive or a negative attribute for women to have in such works.

Keywords: Odyssey, Homer, Classics, Ancient Greece, Literature, Women and Gender Studies


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 19-1
Location: MG 1000
Time: 9:30

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