As portrayed in Homer´s Odyssey, Penelope - wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy - has become a symbol of wifely duty and devotion, enduring twenty years of waiting when her husband goes to fight in the Trojan War. As she fends off the attentions of a hundred greedy suitors, travelling minstrels regale her with news of Odysseus´ epic adventures around the Mediterranean - slaying monsters and grappling with amorous goddesses. When Odysseus finally comes home, he kills her suitors and then, in an act that served as little more than a footnote in Homer´s original story, inexplicably hangs Penelope´s twelve maids.
Now, Penelope and her chorus of wronged maids tell their side of the story in a new stage version by Margaret Atwood, adapted from her own wry, witty and wise novel.
The Penelopiad premiered with the Royal Shakespeare Company in association with Canada´s National Arts Centre at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in July 2007.