Odyssey Benchmark. Penny and Penelope Comparison

Introduction: This benchmark assignment was to compare and contrast a character from the book The Odyssey and another person that related to them but  at the same time showed some differences.


Victoria Odom

Red Stream


Penny And Penelope Comparison



Could you stand being a single mother raising your children alone, while your husband is away on a journey? Well Penelope and Penny could. The book The Odyssey and the movie O, Brother Where Art Thou are being compared and contrasted based on the characters Penelope and Penny, the wives of the main characters, Odysseus of The Odyssey Penelope’s husband, and Everett of O Brother Where Art Thou Penny’s husband. Although Penelope and Penny were both left pregnant and alone their stories of struggle and husbands’ journeys home are different.


Penny and Penelope both remain confident throughout their stories. Penny divorces her husband Everett, after he has to leave and go to jail. With a need to support herself and her family, she seeks out to find a new husband, who has better qualities than Everett, one who she says has to be “bone-a-fide”. Penny knows what’s best, so she finds herself “a suitor” who is up to her standards and is formally engaged to her fiancé, Vernon T. Waldrip. Penelope is left with a baby boy to take care of while her husband Odysseus is away for 20 years trying to find his way home after the Trojan War. Penelope has her house invaded by a group of 100 plus suitors, with one who she has to marry. She still feels for her husband and doesn’t want to marry any of these suitors. She wants him to come home but has a feeling he is dead. According to Penelope the suitors are nothing but a bunch of greedy pigs, and she wants out of her home. One day she has enough of the suitors and says” And you, if you have any shame in your own hearts, you must leave my palace! See to your feasting elsewhere; devour your own possessions, house to house by turns. But if you decide the fare is better, richer here, destroying one man’s goods and going scot-free, all right then, carve away” (Book 2 lines 156-160). The both of these ladies know what they want and if it’s best they’ll strive to get it.


Penelope and Penny are the reasons why their husbands want to come home.

While Everett is away serving his jail time, Penny sends him a letter that tells him she is getting married to her fiancé Waldrip. So Everett lies to his companions who is he is chained to telling them that they are escaping to find treasure. He is dedicated to returning home and getting his wife back. Penny stubbles upon Everett in a store and he realizes that she has been telling her daughters that he is dead because he was hit by a train. Penelope, on the other hand can’t communicate with Odysseus because there is no way she can. Odysseus is coming home from the war but along the way faces many great challenges occurring by sea and islands. Penelope has no idea he is alive and when he comes home Penelope doesn’t know it is Odysseus because he is disguised as a beggar. The only people who she can talk to,  are the suitors who she wants nothing to do with.  “These men drive me mad, hedging me round, right and left, plotting their lethal plots, and no one takes my side”. (Book 18 Lines 261-262) Penelope has no contact with Odysseus but Penny has contact with Everett. This shows that Penny as a chance to talk to Everett and work things out in there relationship. Penelope has no way of talking to Odysseus and explain how she feelings about him but, she can’t all she can do is worry and hope he makes it home safely.


Penelope and Penny both want their husbands’ back but at different times. Penelope remained faithful to Odysseus for 20 years and didn’t want to marry anybody else, but when he returned home things were a little different. He came home in disguise, as a beggar, but Penelope doesn’t know that it’s him. “… my husband in their ships, Odysseus if he could return to tend my life the renown I had would only grow in glory.”.  (Book 18 Lines 284-286) When the competition arrives Odysseus proves himself worthy because he is the only one who successfully completes the challenge. He tries to tell Penelope that it is really him, her husband and not just an old man. So Penelope tests Odysseus to see if it’s really him. She tells the maids to move the marriage bed and once Odysseus sees this he quickly fills with anger because that bed was made special, made from a firmly planted tree trunk. Penelope immediately knows, it’s Odysseus after she sees his reaction. Penny found herself a new man, “a suitor” who met her standards and could help support her family. She forgot about Everett as if he was really dead and told her children that a train had hit him. Once Everett proves himself to Penny and shows that he is “bone-a-fined” she plans to remarry him but only if he finds the wedding ring he gave to her when they first were married. Both women Penelope and Penny take their husbands back but with a catch.


These stories of Penelope and Penny are different but in some situations they are alike. They both were single mothers who took both parent rolls while their husbands were away. Penelope was loyal to Odysseus but, Penny on the other hand could care less about Everett.  Their husbands wanted them back so Penelope and Penny were the reasons why the wanted to come home. When their husbands arrived Penny and Penelope took them back but both at different times in their stories. Over all, both women remained confident throughout their stories and got their husbands back with an amazing story for them to hear about Odysseus’s and Everett’s journey.