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Odyssey, Christianity, Marriage

551). One of these signs is the scar on Odysseus’ foot, which the nurse has seen when bathing Odysseus. For some odd reason, though she is his wife, Penelope appears not to know he has a very distinct scar on his foot.

However, there is a secret sign known only to them which she is aware of as a form of proof, the marriage bed and bedroom. After being reproached by Odysseus for her unbending ways, Penelope agrees that he appears as her husband. So, she orders Eurycleia to action: “move the truly sturdy bedstead out of our bridal chamber - / that room the master built with his own hands. / Take it out now, sturdy bed that it is, / and spread it deep with fleece, / blankets and lustrous throws to keep him warm” (Kass et al. 353). Suddenly, Odysseus reacts with great passion and offense. He claims that no one on this earth but himself can move the bed that he has built, the bed that symbolizes something only he may lay claim to (Penelope):

Woman—your words, they cut me to the core!

Who could move my bed? Impossible task,

Even for some skilled craftsman—unless a god

Came down in person, quick to lend a hand,

Lifted it out with ease and moved it elsewhere.

Not a man on earth, not even at peak strength,

Would find it easy to prise it up and shift it, no,

A great sign, a hallmark lies in its construction.

I know, I built it myself—no one else…

There’s our secret sign, I tell you, our life story!


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