The odyssey from within
Penelope is the odyssey from within, standing still. That which Ulysses confronts outside of himself, Penelope confronts within herself: her desires, her disgusts, her prison, her yearning to escape. This is a woman, albeit the wife of the king, with powers limited by a society which constrain her. Ulysses gone, she endures an assault of desires: might she one day yield to one of them? Must she not, at the same time, maintain appearances, the appearance of the purity of her intentions?
The myth is an explanatory tale of the creation of the world, natural phenomena, what it means to be human, the genesis of a society.
The study of myths forms the very foundation of psychoanalysis.
Show business fantasizes the past. Images on glossy paper and practical advise: follow your instincts, Ten ways to snag the guy of your dreams. Spontaneity and a taste for risk are the flavor of the day. We make heroes of those who heave themselves into emptiness for the sake of feeling alive, to feel excited. Live fully, tabula rasa, get rid of the past and start again...
But at the same time: one in the hand is better than two in the bush. This same world of spectacle promotes the endurance of the couple and conversation. This is becoming crazy.
If only the man of my life (my husband) could come and bring an end to these fantasies.
Could everything be put right through better communication?
Important: The symbolic interpretation of a work must never twist the text to say what it doesn’t.
Musically, every word, every breath, every comma is respected, the slightest chord, the slightest dissonance makes a contribution to the sheaves of meanings which take part in the restaging. Everything is already there.
To live one with the other, then one beside the other. Penelope’s modernity. The woman who waits is not only a woman who waits: she is the sum of her fantasies. She is manifold, singular: a woman in all her states. She dreams of other possibilities, other lovers, other incarnations of herself.
The couple: the image of domestic happiness. But it is also being shut in, forced cohabitation, restraint, constraint. Marriage can be seen as institutional control by a masculine authority with the goal of bridling women’s sexual pleasure for being too threatening: a prison. His wife bound for good, the man need exert no further effort to win her.
Ulysses never left. And yet he was never present. Penelope doesn’t wait for Ulysses; she waits for love, a yearning which includes passing over all the faces of her fantasized suitors.
Transformation from waiting within temptation.
Love is blind. Love conquers all. Really?