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Penelope's Despair by Yannis Ritsos Analysis.

English Project
by

Melissa Murphy

on 16 September 2011

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Transcript of Penelope's Despair by Yannis Ritsos Analysis.

Penelope's Despair by Yannis Ritsos Story Background (Odyssey)

Odysseus went to war
Penelope waited 20 years
100 suitors asked to merry her
Penelope made an excuse: has o make a burial shroud for the father of Odysseus
Maid betrayed her to suitors
Suitors surprise her
Other excuses
After interview with returning Odysseus bow competition
Odysseus wins
They marry again Greece History 20th

• 1941 Germany took over Greece
• resistant movements (royalist and communist) (Odysseus went to war)
• Rebellion worked (Odysseus comes back)
• Civil war →royalists won (help from America)
• Right wing group came to power
• Left wing group came to power (brutality, oppression…) (despair) • 1 May 1909 -11 November 1990
• almost his whole family died when young
• started writing 1931 when he joined the “Communist Party of Greece”
• mainly writing about politics (at that time there were a lot of problems)
• April 1967 went to jail (because of poems) Not that she didn't recognize him in the dim light of the fire;
it wasn't that he was disguised, wearing rags like a beggar.
No. There were clear signs:
the scar on the knee-cap, his strength, the cunning look.
Frightened, leaning against the wall, she sought for some excuse,
a delay, to avoid answering so as not to give herself up.
Was it for him she had wasted twenty years waiting and dreaming?
Was it for this wretched stranger, soaked in blood, with his white beard?
She fell speechless on a chair.
She looked closely at the slaughtered suiters on the floor
as if looking at her own dead desires
and she said 'welcome'
her voice sounding as if coming from a distance, as if belonging to
someone else
Her loom in the corner cast shadows across the ceiling like a cage,
the bird she had woven with bright red threads among green leaves
suddenly turned gray and black
flying low on her sky. Meaning Analysis Penelope's Despair is a 1 stanza, 17 line poem with no rhyme or rhythm. Alliteration

ex. slaughtered suitors (line 10)
ex. dead desires (line 11) Simile

ex. 1 "She looked closely at the dead suitors on the floor
as if looking at her own dead desires" (line 10-11)
Her dead desire would be the desire for her husband to come back.

ex. 2 "Her loom in the corner cast shadows across the ceiling like a cage" (line 14)
Gives the impression that she feels trapped. Imagery

Yannis ritsos uses imagery to create pictures and also sounds.

Picture ex. "Her loom in the corner cast shadows across the ceiling like a cage,
the bird she had woven with bright red threads among green leaves
suddenly turned gray and black" (lines 14-16)

Sound ex. "her voice sounding as if coming from a distance, as if belonging to
someone else" (line 13)
Full transcript