notes in the case of Penelope that the life course of a marriedrnwoman then as now in Greece was marriage, childbearing, andrnchildrearing combined with abandonment if not desertion byrnher husband. Her reward was twofold: the proper developmentrnto adulthood of her son, and the (hoped for) return of her husband.rnAn uncertain life, and Penelope was wise to queryrnOdysseus on his return, not only as to whether he wasrnOdysseus, but also whether he was still her husband and notrnmerely the adventurer who had set sail for Troy some 20 yearsrnbefore.rnFor 20 years Penelope was in love with the idea of Odysseus,rnand when forced to choose a husband from among the suitors,rnwanted to choose that one who most resembled Odysseus.rnHence it was that she proposed the contest of the bow: whoeverrncould string Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow through 12rnaxe handles would be her husband. That man would bernOdysseus-like, his equal, and hence worthy of her hand andrnbed. When the beggar strung the bow and shot the arrowrnthrough the axes—and subsequently killed the suitors—shernknew that she had found Odysseus’ equal. She did not, however,rnyet know that he was Odysseus himself. In order to determinernthis she contrived to trick the trickster Odysseus byrnproposing that their bed be moved from its room into anotherrnplace. Odysseus was horrified, knowing that one of the posts ofrntheir bed had been an olive tree—his protectress Athena’s treernand forever green—and that the bed should therefore not havernbeen movable. When he protested, Penelope finally knew thatrnit was he and they could then go to that bed. The televisionrnversion made Penelope something of a loyal wimp rather thanrnan active player in the drama of reconciliation.rnThe Odyssey’s world was primarily a man’s world, and thernadventures are primarily male adventures. They are, however,rnplayed out against scenes of domesticity (involving women),rnand thus indicate that it is the domestic life and the life of therncommunity that should provide the center of a man’s adult existence.rnThe Odyssey looks backward toward war and forward torna peaceful life. In later Greece the epic’s predictions were fulfilledrnin that classical warfare became a civic rather than a heroicrnactivity, engaged in by citizen soldiers and not by freebootingrnentrepreneurs answerable only to themselves. These classicalrnsoldiers returned to wives and children every year. ThernOdyssey, poised between war and peace, is poised also betweenrnthe heroic world of epic and the domestic world of the laterrnGreek city-state.rnI fear I have made out the Odyssey to be a kind of domesticrntract, a geometric period precursor of Xenophon’s Oeconomicus.rnCleariy it is more than that. I have outlined above the societalrnmeaning and relevance of the poem to a contemporaryrnaudience, a meaning that is confused though perhaps latent inrnthe television version. But the Odyssey is a work of literary artrnfull of adventure, excitement, suspense, thrills, and fears; and,rnabove all, of marvelous poetry. The description of Kalypso’srncave is magnificent, as are many passages in the later portions ofrnthe poem. Homer’s characters are real, his tales gripping, hisrnwriting brilliant. This last and the leisurely pace at which herndevelops his story are inevitably lacking from the modern televisionrnversion. Homer would not have objected to a televisionrnor movie version of his story, but he would have insisted that hisrnvision of the story be honored, and that it end with Odysseus’rnfinal integration into Ithacan society.rnThese issues were of importance to the Greek world, andrnmay not be of such great importance to Hollywood producers.rnNonetheless, attention to them, particulariy to the social contextrnof the Odyssey, would, I think, have added a dimension tornthe presentation and rescued it from some of the incoherencernthat I, at least, felt when viewing it. The answer ultimately is tornread the poem.rnSphinxrnby fared CarterrnIt lives on, and with each new day, asksrnthe old questions, of strangers passing by,rnor even of itself. Often I have heard itrncalling across the wastes, like a hot windrnthat brings no relief, that sorts throughrnacres of sand, dust, shards, broken stones,rnfinding nothing. Out of Egypt it came,rnaeons ago, to stand at the crossroadsrnwhile travelers, in the distance, approach.rnOedipus spoke with it, though that exchangernis lost, and all manner of false storiesrnsprung up in later years. Of all myths,rnall tales, it is the most ancient and dim,rnthe most elemental. Each time it appears,rnlike some presence that casts no shadow.rnit is the wayfarer whose life has changed,rnnot the Sphinx, which is outside history,rnand uncaring, like the oldest of sybils.rnEach time you hear its muttered questionsrnthey strike you in a different way, thoughrnwhether one goes on four legs, or two,rnor three, is of little consequence now.rnRather, you must continue along the pathrnthrough rocky places, over drifted sands,rnpast steep ascents leading to the mountains.rnThe wind throws up veils of dust and pollen.rnThe Sphinx at such moments walks beside you,rnneither leading nor following, askingrnor answering. It has sojourned here before,rnand watches to see which way you will turn.rn22/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn