In her essay "Penelope as Moral Agent," Helene Foley attempts to discuss Penelope, a major character in Homer's the Odyssey, in terms of Classical Athenian portrayals of women and, as her title suggests, in terms of what she calls a "moral agent." In her introductory paragraph she lays out guidelines as set down by Aristotle and his contemporaries that constitute a moral agent: the character must make an ethical and moral decision "on which the
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In conclusion, Helene Foley's essay serves to call attention to the complexities that arise from outside expectations (those of Odysseus, Telemachos and the public) involved in her decision, but neglects to mention what she believes to be true about Odysseus' whereabouts. It is this former aspect of her thought process in making the decision to present the bow to the suitors as a more pressing concern to Penelope and ultimately makes her decision for her.