Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Penelope
PENELOPE, a celebrated Grecian princess, daughter of Icarius, wife of Ulysses (Odysseus), and mother of Telemachus. According to the Homeric legend, Ulysses, during his long wanderings after the fall of Troy, was generally regarded as dead, and Penelope was vexed by the urgent suits of many lovers, whom she put off on the pretext that she must first weave a shroud for Laertes, her aged father-in-law. To protract the time, she undid by night the portion of the web which she had woven by day. When the suitors had discovered this device, her position became more difficult than before; but fortunately Ulysses returned in time to rescue his chaste spouse from their distasteful importunities.