The roles and social status of women in ancient times are being described by many well-known playwrights and poets. Yet, different works shows different opinions towards “women power”. In this essay, I am going to compare Homer’s Iliad and The Code of Hammurabi along with Sophocles’ Antigone.
In spite of the fact that Homer’s Odyssey is an epic story of a man’s gallant journey, women play a huge part throughout. Their unique yet controversial personalities, intentions, and relationships are vital to the development of this epic and adventurous journey of Odysseus. The poem by Homer was written at a time when women had an inferior position in society, yet that didn’t stop them from being any less influential. All of the women throughout the Odyssey possess different qualities, but all of them help to define the role of the ideal woman.
In many societies today, individuals are led to believe that the concept of women possessing their own strength or independence is abnormal. As a result, women experience the world in a constrained way in comparison to men, even if they are in higher classes of society. However, these extensive aspects of females are contradicted in some ancient Greek literature. In the epic poem, The Odyssey, Homer portrays women as a vital and powerful force through the characters Penelope and Circe, who counter the normality of misogyny in Homer’s time. Penelope’s character displays how some women are able to exceed society’s standards and show strength and cleverness when it is necessary.
Different societies view women in different lights. Therefore, a woman’s position is greatly different from one society to the other. The societies in question do not necessarily have to exist at the same time. Even in the same time frame, two societies could exist, where one treat women as equals to men, and another that treats women differently than men, whether better or worse. The societies in question are: Mesopotamia, Greece, China, Rome & Europe, and this essay aims to study different societies’ viewpoints on women, and to compare and contrast them against each other.
Upon being left by her husband during a decade-long journey, Penelope’s depressed character, like Hecuba’s character, accentuates the misery of women during that time. Once stripped of the only source of power and happiness they had—men in society—women were deemed miserable, useless, and awful in society. Penelope spent years waiting for Odysseus, and the audience watches as a beautiful, popular woman, weeps over her missing husband and lives a long, melancholy life. Penelope grows impatient and stagnantly miserable; she begins to wish for death, for life was not worth living without her husband in her life. She begs, “How I wish chaste Artemis would give me a death so soft and now I would not go on in my heart, grieving all my life and longing for love of a husband excellent in every virtue.
However, these contrasts between their personal thinking built most of valuable points in Odysseus' epic journey, and making a more intense story. To some extent, these women are not foolish at all because at least they are successful at leading people to believe that waiting is meaningful. The whole story happened during the dark centuries of women in Greece, when their value was limited behind men. However The “Odyssey” gives an opportunity to horror their role, also rejecting all erroneous preconceptions about the woman. Penelope -- a typical woman who represents for an image of a devoted wife, a mother of family and she is also an image of how women was treated at Greece.
Throughout history, women have been oppressed and not viewed as equals to men. Orleanna Price and her daughters in the book, The Poisonwood Bible, are no strangers to being oppressed and molded into the role of a perfect woman and a perfect wife. Throughout this story, the girls’ femininity often gets rejected, often by their society and the society in the Congo, and even by their own father, Nathan Price. Orleanna Price, Nathan’s wife, has lived her life living in her husband’s shadow for years. Orleanna has been conquered by Nathan, in the sense that he overtook her and now controls her.
Some women were profoundly respected, whether as representatives of effective families, or for their age, intelligence and wisdom. There is no evidence that women' capacities were questioned in the pre-Christian period, and their relationship with wisdom and enchantment was outstanding. Their connections with both nature and the otherworldly were a wellspring of
In the article “Traditions Subordinating Women”, Bonnie S. Anderson and Judith P. Zinsser explore the very strong opinions, theories and beliefs of female subordination within the eyes of various origin cultures through stories, passages and history itself. This article gives a vast understanding of a woman’s role, the purpose of her body, what is expected of her, society’s double standards and how literature and poems portray women. Before Christianity, there existed many old cultures such as the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, Germanics and Celtics, who all came in agreement to preserving the subordination of women. A woman’s main duties were to remain faithful to her husband, to be fruitful and to preserve and nurture her home. A woman was incapable
She has been brainwashed by the patriarchal society of her time to worship the man, her husband, and perform her duties and daily rituals as a means to please him. Welter outlines several characteristics that constitute the perfect or true woman; however, the most crucial and detrimental so-called “virtues” exhibited by Gilman`s the narrator are her submissiveness and domesticity. Although the artistic narrator clearly has her own desires to be free and write as she pleases, her desire to satisfy the patriarchal construct of the household by attending
1.2 Background Females are an integral part of human civilization. No society or country can ever progress without an active participation of female in its general development. The status of female in society is directly linked with social and cultural traditions, stages of economic development achieved, educational levels, attitude of the society towards women, social and religious taboos, women's own awareness and political attainments. Through the centuries, the image and the role of female have been observed and studied in various ways, and the acquired knowledge has been recorded in literature, works of art, religious texts, mythology and codes of social behaviour.
The Odyssey by Homer contains multiple moments where female characters are oppressed or fit into a patriarchy, but there are several moments where these character show signs of rebellion against this oppression. Applying a critical lense of feminism to these characters and relationships create complexities and conflicts within the novel that shine meaning on the world. The character Penelope offers many of these moments. Analyzing the actions, situation, and comparisons with other characters using a the feminist critical lense will show a more enriched version of Penelope and offer a deeper insight of the patriarchy, and how is affects the world.
Beowulf and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” are both narratives in which gender acts as an important theme within their individual communities; both have underlying meanings when it comes to defining what the role men and women in a good community should be. Or in other words, both stories paint a vivid picture of the role of women during the medieval time period, by suggesting that one gender had more power over another. However, these two narratives take alternative paths when expressing their views; Beowulf conveys its message through what is missing, while “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” incorporates satire and uses explicit narrative when telling the experience of a woman that is highly different from other women in her time. Furthermore, another difference that is appealing to the reader’s eyes, besides the way the two narratives reflect to women’s role in medieval times, is that men become the hero in Beowulf, while “the wife”, so a woman, becomes the authority figure in the story of “The Wife of Bath’s Tale.” I want to first introduce the two main differences between the two narratives and then I will explain how regardless of the differences, both of these narratives’ main goal is to show that women had less power and a good community back that time was male dominated.
Maybe the author might not intend to, but the readers engulfed with the male-centered mindset might omit the position of women. It is worth demystifying the thought that women should only be visible to men. They have a fundamental role to play in the pieces of literature that we interact with and the society as a whole. Just as pointed out in this study, the society cannot succeed without the input of women, even if they are not seen in the forefront. Even though it would appear that Hildeburh did not succeed in the role she was intended to perform, the way she manages herself in the whole process is of great significance.