Fortitude Of Women In The Odyssey

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Women have been oppressed in male dominant societies since ancient times and still are in some present-day societies. Homer’s The Odyssey gives insights into the Greek culture through the story of Odysseus and the challenges he faces in attempts of returning home to Ithaca. The epic poem revolves around men, or in particular, their hardships and accomplishments while rarely providing women’s perspective of life. Millay’s “An Ancient Gesture” empathizes with Penelope’s difficulties and admires her fortitude, while the poem addresses Odysseus’s fault with his lack of understanding and empathy. In “An Ancient Gesture” Millay implies that the hardships women cope with are undermined using symbolism, vivid imagery, and subtle diction.…show more content…
Penelope demonstrates this fortitude by spending day and night “weaving” or dealing with her problems. A mental scene of Penelope “weaving” schemes with cunning to make an all-out effort in delaying her marriage plays out. However, the toll of spending all her time to delay the marriage takes a toll on her health. Penelope chooses to spend all her time “weaving” to the point her “arms get tired”(5) and “neck gets tight”(5) exhibiting another use of imagery to show the perseverance of women. The feeling of “tired” and “tight” results from pushing one’s self beyond one’s limit and goes to describe, to what extent Penelope pushes herself out of her faithfulness to Odysseus. It shows to what extent women can push themselves facing adversity. Penelope’s life represents women withstanding struggles, but that their struggles do not receive…show more content…
Odysseus’s actions were “only as a gesture” or mere pretense in lieu of the situation, rather than actual understanding. His emotions are insincere when they should be authentic because of what Penelope goes through for him. “Learned”(16) is the subtle use of diction the speaker emphasizes on due to the fact “learned” is different from empathizing because empathizing is understanding the position of others The definition of “learned” is the acquisition and memorization of knowledge. Furthermore, the speaker subtly emphasizes this as she articulates he “learned”(16) the gesture from Penelope. Odysseus represents how people belittle or conduct no attempt at empathizing with women’s
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