Essay On Women In The Odyssey

704 Words3 Pages

Women in today’s society, are treated more as equals than they were in the time The Odyssey was written. Society has a big influence on people’s mindsets and the values of society are different for every century. Treatment of women has evolved over the years depending on how they are depicted. In the 21st century we see commercials promoting women’s rights and women workers. However, in Homer’s The Odyssey, women are viewed as inferior to men by depicting them as “prizes”, expecting them to obey men, and forcing them to serve men.
Helen and Penelope are viewed as prizes to be won, due to the view that men ruled over women. Each of these women have had men compete to be their husbands, through wars and competitions. The men “launch(ed)...headlong battles just for (Helen’s) sake,” (129: 161-162) and not for her protection or happiness, but because both King Menelaus and Paris wanted her to be their wife. The Trojan War originated when Aphrodite promised Paris the most beautiful woman, if he said that she was the most beautiful of three goddesses. Paris took Helen as his ‘prize’ despite the fact that she …show more content…

Many of the servants in the Odyssey are specifically women. Women in the Odyssey would often, “perform... household tasks,” (241: 88). Rarely in this poem have we seen men working indoors because it is a women’s job to cook, clean, and tend to everyone’s needs. Most of the chores maids must do are household chores, however, the maids aren’t only expected to keep the house in order. The women in Circe’s palace must, “bathe( Odysseus) from the cauldron.. (and rub him) sleek with oil,” (241: 399-403). Women, despite their basic job roles, must also care for the men by doing tasks for them that they are completely capable of fulfilling alone. The women get no praise when they serve the men because these acts are simply

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