Loyalty is a theme found in many classics. The three classics that are discussed in this paper are Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , written by an unknown author, The Odyssey by Homer, and Don Quixote , written by Miguel de Cervantes. In all three of the masterpieces loyalty can be traced through the characters action and words. Loyalty is evident in the characters behaviors to one another or maybe through a test they endure. In The Odyssey , Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , and Don Quixote loyalty is apparent throughout the story.
The Odyssey is believed to have been written by Homer and is infused with loyalty throughout the entire epic story. Odysseus is the most faithful, loving, and loyal husband, to Penelope, that any woman could dream of. Odysseus, in the beginning of his description of the trials and tribulations that he has endured, pledged his eternal loyalty to his ever-faithful wife Penelope. “We are mortal weary and sick at heart … if only now may I see once more my hall, my lands, my people before I die!” (Homer 7:233-240). Thought Odysseus did lie with the goddess his loyalty to Penelope held true. The “Enchantress in her beauty” (Homer 7:274) enslaved the grand Odysseus to her will; yet Odysseus “in his heart he never gave consent.
” (Homer 7:276) The goddess offered Odysseus a choice, the “promise that he should be immortal, and youthful, all the days to come” (Homer 7:275-276) or to continue his long continuous voyage to his queen Penelope. Because Odysseus chose to return to his devoted Penelope instead of gaining immortal life he has provided evidence of his loyalty to Penelope.
Another indication of loyalty seen in The Odyssey is in Penelope’s fidelity to Odysseus. Penelope waited a long, lingering twenty years for her beloved Odysseus return to Ithaka and into her arms. Penelope proved her loyalty by “wearing out her lifetime with desire and sorrow, mindful of her lord, good man ” (Homer 18:229-230). Even though the pestering suitors were like vulture swarming in on fresh meat Penelope was able to hold them at bay with her faithful devotion to her mighty Odysseus.
In order to do this the cunning and wily Penelope lead them to believe that she would marry one of them only to later let them down. She used the weaving of the funeral shroud for Lord Laertes to keep them under control. “So everyday she wove on the loom- but every night by torchlight she unwove it;” (Homer 1:110-111). Attestation of Penelope’s loyalty to Odysseus is the unweaving of the shroud because she did not want to marry one of the suitors and had full confidence in her beloved king’s return. The archery test that Penelope purposes is functioning to hold off the suitors, for none are a match for Odysseus, as well as prompting Odysseus to proving himself to her. “Upon Penelope, most worn in love and thought, Athena cast a glance like a gray sea lifting her.
Now to bring the tough bow out and bring the iron blades. Now try those dogs at archery.” (Homer 21:1-4). Penelope tests Odysseus to make him prove that it is he before she will trust him. The test of the bedpost that she puts to Odysseus once again proves Penelope’s fidelity. “Forgive me, don’t be angry.
I could not welcome you with love on sight!” (Homer 23:216-217). Penelope’s devotion held strong and she would not accept him until he proved himself. “ Their secret!” (Homer 23:206) shared was Odysseus’s key to her loyalty and her test.
Another hint of loyalty in The Odyssey was the treatment Odysseus’s men received from him. Odysseus gave his men his loyalty and to help them to return home he saved them from the lotos eaters. When his men “fell in, soon enough, with the lotos eaters, … they became forgetful of their homeland. and he drove them, wailing, to the ships, and tied them down under their rowing benches” (Homer 9:95-103). Odysseus, once again proving his loyalty to his crew members, saved them from Kirke when they were turned into swine. “Put heart in me to eat and drink- you may.