The Return of Ulysses
Release Date
20 March 1909

The Return of Ulysses (1909)

Adventure, Short
Ulysses is a legendary Greek hero, who, when the expedition against Troy was resolved upon, enlisted and devoted himself to the cause, which eventually proved a failure. When Troy has fallen and Ulysses sets sail for home, his ships are driven to different lands, where his adventures are numerous, keeping him away from his native land for ten years. As time rolls on without his return he is looked upon as dead by everyone except his wife, Queen Penelope, who firmly believes that her husband still lives and will some day return to her. The people of Ithaca are very anxious to have their Queen marry again, but this she stoutly refuses to do, insisting that her little son Telemachus alone shall be their King. Many suitors present themselves at the palace as aspirants for the beautiful Penelope's hand, hut they get very little encouragement, as she remains steadfast in her belief that Ulysses will eventually come back. Finally, driven to desperation by the repeated entreaties of the high priest. Penelope consents to marry one of her many admirers, but makes it clearly understood that the wedding shall not take place until she has completed a piece of tapestry on which she has been working during her lonely hours of waiting for her husband's return. In order to protract the time, she rips out at night the work that she has accomplished during the day. One night, after putting her little son to bed. Penelope falls asleep beside his cot, and in a dream sees Ulysses enter the room and bend over Telemachus, kissing the child fondly on the brow, after which he turns a pleading look in her direction and disappears. Upon awakening, Penelope, taking the dream as a good omen, meaning that Ulysses still lives and is striving to come to her, goes over to the tapestry and rips out the work done that day. As she pulls out the threads one by one she is unconscious of the fact that she is being watched by her maid Myrrah, who stands aghast as she realizes what her mistress's action means. The indiscreet Myrrah loses no time in betraying Penelope's secrets, and the suitors, upon hearing how their Queen has been deceiving them, rush into the palace just in time to see Penelope destroying a large portion of the tapestry. After remonstrating with the frightened woman, they rush from the palace, destroying everything in their path. The next scene shows Ulysses returning to his native land, and as he enters the palace he comes upon the prostrate form of an old servant who has felt the wrath of the infuriated mob. Upon hearing the old man's story of the existing state of affairs, Ulysses, with his habitual quickness of decision, changes garments with the old servant and enters his home in this disguise. He is met by his wife's many suitors, who are living riotously on his estates, and who treat the tottering old stranger with scant courtesy; his own little son being the only one who offers him a glass of wine to quench his burning thirst. Penelope then appears and informs those assembled that she has decided to wed the one among them who can bend the bow of Ulysses. The most persistent suitor steps up and endeavors to wield the gigantic weapon, but without success. Finally Ulysses himself comes forward and to the amazement of all present bends the bow with ease and sends the arrow straight to the heart of his wife's tormentor. The friends of the wounded man rush for Ulysses, but the latter, throwing off his disguise, seizes his sword and succeeds in slaying the wretches who were planning to wrest his kingdom from him. The happy Penelope, scarcely able to believe that at last her hopes have been realized, throws her arms about her hero's neck and weeps tears of joy for his safe return. - Written by Moving Picture World synopsis
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