Professor Olga Levaniouk was recently interviewed for Ancient Greece Declassified, a wonderful podcast series about making the "Classics" accessible to everyone. In this crystal-clear and beautifully produced piece, Olga talks about the Odyssey's presentation of Penelope as an equal match to Odysseus in intelligence and courage. She explores how Penelope conducts a coded dialogue with the newly arrived beggar, who is her husband in disguise. After a subtle probing and testing of the stranger's claims to know Odysseus and his whereabouts and an interchange of signs between them, she announces she is ready to hold a bow contest, the winner of which she will marry. Does she recognize Odysseus? What does the dream of the twenty geese and the eagle she relates to the stranger mean? Find out Olga's take on these questions and on Penelope's position, as well as on the types of traditional song that Penelope draws upon to challenge, test, and inform the stranger. Olga also leads us on a journey through fascinating comparative material that supports her interpretation of Penelope as a figure whose powerful voice does not need to be rescued but is already there to be heard.
You can listen to the podcast here.