Penelope: Homeric Parallel

In Book 23 of The Odyssey, Penelope is awakened and informed by the nurse, Euryclea, that Odysseus has returned and slaughtered the suitors; at first she refuses to believe the nurse, saying that it must be some god in disguise who has killed the suitors for their presumption. When she descends into the hall to meet Odysseus, she is still reluctant, testing him, as he puts it, "at her leisure" (23:113; Fitzgerald, p. 445). What finally convinces Penelope that he is in fact Odysseus is his knowledge of the secret of the construction and the immovability of their bed. They retire, "mingled in love again" (23:300; Fitzgerald, p. 450), and then tell their stories to each other. In the morning Odysseus is up early to pacify the island, and the poem moves toward its close.

(from Don Gifford with Robert J. Seidman, "Ulysses" Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's "Ulysses" [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988], p. 610. The first numbers following quotes from The Odyssey [for example, 1:115] refer to book and line numbers in the Greek text; English translations, unless otherwise noted, are from The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fitzgerald [New York: Doubleday, 1961])