In “Gender and the Homeric Epic”, an article by Nancy Felson and Laura M. Slatkin, the gender roles of various characters in The Odyssey, an epic poem by Homer, are examined in the constraining and progressive lens Homer takes. The characters of the epic most explicitly analyzed are Odysseus and his wife, Penelope; in this article the authors show the traditional gender roles both adhere to, but also exhibit the ways in which the characters are able to reach across the restraining gender roles, without making this story entirely about gender. Through this article one can see that the constraining nature of gender roles seen in society, is not inherent in the society presented in The Odyssey, which describes an intrinsic fluidity which is seen in a plethora of characters. “Gender and the Homeric Epic” discusses the gender roles conceived throughout Homer’s story through the characters Homer and Penelope. Homer represents the masculine war hero, returning home with what should be glory and happiness. In this era, it was expected that to gain success, men had to pillage neighboring villages. Unfortunately, Homer’s homecoming is foiled by his pride, which causes his journey to be expanded by a number of years and hardships. These hardships slowly teach him …show more content…
They both uphold the general values society places on their sexes, but through their hardships they are able to gain a fluidity in these roles not often given in their society. Odysseus was able to express emotion without undercutting his masculinity, and was able to appreciate his wife for more than her domestic accomplishments. While Penelope became a paradigm of fidelity, she also embodied inner-strength as she dealt with the turmoil of her missing husband, rowdy suitors, and the destruction of her kingdom; which allowed Odysseus to come to appreciate her ingenuity and his marriage in
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In the epic poem, The Odyssey by Homer, the men and women has a double standard. Throughout the poem, the male characters such as the protagonist Odysseus are the ones fighting, leading and known as hero’s. On the other hand women are serving under the males and shown to be the seducers and prizes by Homer. Even a strong and cunning answer to a man.
Furthermore, Fletcher points out that Odysseus’s heir, Telemachus, does the same to his own mother, who is seen by the greeks as the image of an ideal woman (78). In Fletcher's words, “Penelope judiciously leaves at Telemachus' bidding at three points in the poem, doing precisely what Odysseus commands the maids to do” (81). From this motif we see how women, even queen Penelope, were viewed as inferior: as workers who are only meant to “go inside and work wool” (Fletcher 81). In addition, Fletcher states that Telemachus sending his mother off to work is a part of his journey of becoming a man (78). While grasping the patriarchal
Lucas Castro Mrs. McCormick English 1, 7 6 February, 2023 The Odyssey Essay What if the women in The Odyssey were not just objects of desire, but powerful players in their own right? The Odyssey is written by Homer and is set in Ancient Greece. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and helps Odysseus with his journey back from Troy, Penelope is Odysseus's wife who has been tricking the suitors because she has faith that Odysseus is still alive, and Circe.
On the other hand, women are shamed for having the same relationships. These double standards are portrayed in literature as well. In Homer’s The Odyssey, we see these double standards applied to its’ story and characters. It was especially applied to Odysseus, the main Greek hero in this epic.
In Homer’s Poem, The Odyssey, Penelope is the exceptionally patient and clever spouse of the infamous hero, Odysseus, and the mother of Telemachus. One poignant factor of Penelope’s character is her patience and devotion which is displayed throughout the poem. With her husband absent for a great majority of her life for the later of twenty years and his location unknown, Penelope stays, patiently awaiting Odysseus’ return, all whilst preserving their estate and raising her son by herself. Throughout this time, she had many persistent suitors in pursuit of her, abusing her husband’s absence.
Would you really have to portray a girl to get what you want? Can you do something different? The Odyssey was taken on by a Greek legend, Odysseus over sea. In his journey there was different men and women along beside him, but the women were quite different in areas and in heart. Portrayal of women is in answer to all the women in the Odyssey.
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.
Soon after Kalypso gives Odysseus permission to leave, she tries to convince him that he should stay. She tells him that she is better than his current wife and she is not any “less desirable than she is” (5.220). This lures Odysseus in and he agrees with her saying that “death and old age being unknown to [her], while [Penelope] must die” (5.227). During this scene, Kalypso is using her beauty, sexual appearance, and immortality to lure in Odysseus. This image of women constantly succeeds in attracting men.
The respectable male characters such as Odysseus treat women well, but mostly for their appearance and marriage potential. Near the beginning, after washing up on the island of the Pheaecians, he meets a girl and says, “Mistress: please: are you divine, or mortal? If one of those who dwell in the wide heaven, you are the most near to Artemis, I should say,” (8). To
“The Odyssey,” written by Greek poet Homer is an epic tale depicting the brutally enduring quest home of the Greek hero, Odysseus. Within this heroic story, women play a very large and pivotal role in Odysseus’s trip home from the Trojan War. In his attempt to get back to his wife, Penelope, Odysseus’s progress is constantly hindered by the intervention of women who will do anything in order to either convince the heroic figure to stay with them or have him killed. The intentions of the women in the epic are all very different but one of the most prominent roles lies in the seductresses and the alluring women who will deeply influence Odysseus. Most importantly, Penelope plays a large role in portraying the importance of women’s roles in the story.
These women influenced the conditions of the journey by guiding Odysseus in different directions, and aiding him crucially. Their authority showed the idea behind an old proverb, which states, “Behind every great man there’s a great woman”. Throughout The Odyssey, the women exemplified their power during the course of Odysseus’ journey. Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, bravely held down the front in Ithaca while her husband struggled to find his way back home. In Book 18, Penelope spoke to the ever-so-desperate suitors about what Odysseus “told” her before he left.
In the epic poem, The Odyssey, by Homer, there are many female characters who play the role of a villain. Calypso, Scylla, Charybdis, and the sirens are among the women with the largest, negative impacts on Odysseus’ journey home. Though some women, such as Athena, Eurycleia, and Penelope, are loyal to Odysseus throughout the poem. With such a wide range of female characters, they all contribute different things throughout the book, whether the impact of their actions is negative or positive. Regardless of the outcomes, Homer has quite a modern view of female representation in his poem.
Women are looked at as inferior both mentally and physically to men. This is evident by the fact that women are given as sexual items, toys and trophies to men. Homer rarely empathizes the attractiveness of the heroic man. Beauty pertains to the goddesses and women. Homer infers that a woman’s importance lies in her looks while for men their importance lies in their heroism.
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.
Women have always been portrayed as the weaker sex compared to men. It has been demonstrated in history itself and throughout literary works. Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Homer’s The Odyssey, however, portray women to be more powerful than men, even when their society thought otherwise and underestimated them because of their gender. Lady Macbeth, The Three Witches, Queen Arête and Penelope demonstrate the astute, charming, and ambitious side of women that was overlooked by men when it came to having power and making decisions.