Gender And The Homeric Epic Analysis

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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
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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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