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Comparing Women In Macbeth And The Odyssey

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The Odyssey and Macbeth are classic tales of adventure and war endured by the men of their respective eras. Both pieces of literature show the lives of not only the men with the namesakes to their respective stories, but the lives of the women in those stories as well. During those times, women did not have much political or societal influence, besides being child-bearing homemakers. However, the authors of these respective works showed ways of how women can be perceived as more masculine, or how men can be more feminine. Characters could even appear as androgynous and not identify with either gender. Although written in two distinct time periods, The Odyssey and Macbeth both challenge the concept of gender and the traditional roles associated…show more content…
This is showcased throughout the first three books of The Odyssey, especially in book (number) where Penelope (put either quote or action of delaying suitors). “Telemachus cannot establish himself in a position of authority because he is too young and lacks experience... Penelope cannot do so because she is a woman. She is reduced to stratagems... order to maintain her position. She doesn't want to remarry but she is powerless to throw the suitors out and to establish control over the household” (Gender roles in the odyssey). Additionally, “… as the wife of the previous king, she would provide a spurious legitimacy to the man who married her.” Thus giving Penelope this indirect power of choosing who will rule Ithaca, even though she chooses to continue to wait for Odysseus. As for Helen of Argos, women were not able to participate in the conversations amongst men, but through the “mild magic of forgetfulness” she is able to interject herself into the conversation and participate amongst the men. Not only that, but the mystical creatures in the epic
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