Monsacré, Hélène. 2018. The Tears of Achilles. Trans. Nicholas J. Snead. Introduction by Richard P. Martin. Hellenic Studies Series 75. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_MonsacreH.The_Tears_of_Achilles.2018.
II.3. Virile Women … or Heroines?
Traces of Masculinity in Women
or to the consequences of failure (Iliad 22.104–105):
Penelope: A Heroic King for Ithaca?
The references to glory (kleos), justice (eudikias), and royalty (basilēos) establish a network of values closely linked to masculinity. This kind of aristeia for Penelope does not acquire its full meaning unless we stop to examine the circumstances that provoke this praise. Odysseus, who had proclaimed his own glory in similar terms (Odyssey 10.19–20) while with the Phaeacians (here again confirming the twinning of Odysseus and Penelope), is now in a completely reversed situation: “do not seek to know my lineage and family” (19.116), he responds to his wife, who has not yet recognized him. The king, like the male lion, falls into the category of masculine heroism. It is because she is an exceptionally wise and faithful wife that she can—in the absence of a man—convey royalty and assume for a while the role of the kingdom’s regent.
It is important that Penelope herself refuses the usurped kleos—demonstrating once again that her fidelity is the basis for her true glory.  When Odysseus returns, at the moment he recovers his status as mortal and king, she will recover her true place, her true function as a woman.
Andromache: A double of the warrior Hector?
Of note is, first of all, that the advice is defensive; it is about the best way to protect the city, that is to say, the women and children. The strangeness of this initiative is underscored by Hector, who sends Andromache back to her loom (Iliad 6.490–492).
With a prescient sense of her coming misfortune, Andromache’s body is struck like that of an injured warrior: her limbs vibrate and the shuttle slips out of her hands like the weapon of a man who is collapsing (Iliad 8.329; 15.465). Her heart shakes violently like the spear brandished in the hand of a combatant (3.19; 16.142); her knees stick in the ground like a spear in a helmet (4.460). A black night spreads over her, a synonym of the warrior’s death in combat (5.659; 13.580); and immediately afterward, she collapses. Catching her breath, as a hero does during an effort to fight (5.697; 11.359, etc.), she comes to (apo de psuchēn ekapusse, 22.467: literally “she breathes out her life’s breath”). Her pain is analogous, in every detail, to that of an injured or slain warrior, and this extraordinary scene confers upon her suffering a particular character.
Helen: A Double of Achilles?