3. Misogyny is prominent in Hesiod’s Works and Days which is exemplified by Hesiod's story of Pandora and the creation of women. In short, Pandora was the first woman created by Zeus as a punishment due to the fact that Prometheus tried to trick Zeus, “Pandora because all the gods who dwell on Olympos/ gave her as a gift- a scourge for toiling men” (82-83). Through this, Hesiod depicts women as vile manipulators. This could suggest that misogyny was prevalent during this specific time period and perhaps that women shared similar roles in society and in Greek mythology. Works and Days can suggest to us that women during this time were not as viewed as significant as their male counterparts. Generally, Greek mythology depicts men as strong and
Women have been both compared to a “briskly hog”(Semonides, 550 BCE) and a powerful being in the Greek city-states. The only difference is that it was in different city-states. In Athens women were viewed as useless, besides the fact they could produce the next generation. In Sparta women were viewed as helpful and powerful. The treatment of women in Athens was horrific, harsh, and awful, unlike the treatment of women in Sparta which was fair, and sometimes even favored.
In the Oresteia, Aeschylus explores social patriarchy through the consistent imagery of women throughout the play. Using similar imagery Aeschylus potentially voices his disagreement with this patriarchy. The Oresteia discusses women in instances to imply the possible patriarchy of the Greeks, in the moments before Clytemnestra’s death and in the discussions of Athena the imagery of the woman is of an inferior person. However, the anger of Clytemnestra and the Eumenides themselves are in contrast to this patriarchy, as Aeschylus potentially recognizes the woman in these scenes.
During 4th century B.C, ancient Greece had adopted views that were dominantly misogynist. Women were thought to be no more than tools to the men of the Athenian society which was overwhelmingly patriarchal. To explain, one can look at the archaeology of the Greeks found in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The towering figure of Dionysos, the God of Wine, hovering over a miniature, and at the same time powerless, women perfectly exemplifies this concept of misogynism. To further the periods misogynistic ideas, the literature had no concept of centering a story around a woman. Yet despite living in this society as described, Greek playwright Euripides was the first voice of protofeminism in the Athenian society. His play Medea was the
In society, there seems to be a predetermined idea of what a woman should be. In antiquity, there are very powerful, strong, independent, and determined women who rose against this established sexist mentality, but because of the type of society they lived in, these women have gained a negative reputation and have become equated to characters such as Pandora, Medea, and Clytemnestra. These fictitious figures are the leading examples of what an independent and powerful woman has now become in the eyes of men, both back then and even now: a symbol for temptation, weakness, treachery, viciousness, impulsivity, irrationality, and lack of intelligence.
The role of women has differed from one period to period and from country to country. The changes have occurred according to the changes of societies and their people beliefs. In Athena, there were differences in the women role in many aspects. Their roles were limited to being either wives or mothers. However, they became having some rights in their family, civic and political lives.
In the time of the Greeks and the Trojans, women were either a man’s prize or true love. They can also affect their man’s involvement in battle. A woman who is a prize is taken from a conquered city and given to the military officers as a reward for fighting in battle. A woman of true love, on the other hand, is a woman that has given up everything to be with a man that cares so deeply for her. A woman of true love is important to the man, even if honor and bravery in battle is a priority of his, as it was to all great warriors, his woman is almost as important. The clear difference between the two kinds of women is clearly exhibited in Homer’s Iliad.
Basically saying they’re worthless and have no meaning to them, the gods, because they are just considered an object or a prize. Treating women as a prize or materialistically would be another way that makes the Iliad a sexist work. The ignorance of the males in the book pave the way to show that women are just objects and basically have no emotions. Later in book 6 around line 344 Helen begins to refer to herself as a dog and wishes she had died at birth. Due to the fact of not having her voice “heard” by men basically ignored, the sexist theme of the book comes to the surface once again. In book 1 Agamemnon and Achilles are having a conversation about Agamemnon’s wife and how he’d be okay with giving her up as long he got another “prize” even though he says, “…she is no inferior in beauty, in looks, or in character, or in her skills in hand work.” (1, 114-116). Agamemnon doesn’t see his wife as his soulmate but just an object he’s willing to give up because of an argument with Achilles. “Nonetheless I am willing to let her go if that is what’s best.” (1, 117-119). Agamemnon shows no actual feelings towards the situation except for the fact that he’s okay with losing his beautiful as long as he gets a brand new one. The role of women as prize meant that no
Women in Agamemnon are marginalized, excluded and silenced. On the other hand, we have to emphasize that women have a very important role, so much as to go to a war over one, an apt example of that would surely be – "Helen the Destroyer." (pg.36)
A creation myth is an illustrative description of how society began and how the people treat it. Aeschylus created a Greek Trilogy that ties into everyday life situations; for example, revenge, family, death, gender, and justice. Plato’s The Republic also has themes like justice, morality, education, and wisdom. These two texts have helped define people and how they will act towards one another in their community.
Ancient Greece has had a great impact on the society we live in today. A multitude of things seen every day can be traced back to Ancient Greece. Artistic styles and literature in Ancient Greece are the foundation of artistic styles and literature in Western Societies. Additionally, gods worshiped in Greece represented different traits and personalities which further contributed to the idea of individualism—a core idea in Western Societies such as America today. Political and educational systems in Greece are also similar to Western Societies. Greek societies influenced Western Societies in theater, literature, and politically in both positive and negative ways.
A more challenging question to ask may perhaps have been how are the characters in the play of Agamemnon justified; or maybe how does the story of Agamemnon’s characters portray nonuniversal atribuibles. As for the latter, I would very much enjoy debating how the story and its characters lack universal appeal. Just in class here are a few topics that have been discussed: who holds more credence for justice, humans or god(s)? Can someone justify their own actions? How can revenge cause problems? and the responsibilities of married couples, just to list a few. All of these themes, which do not even begin to cover half of the themes that can be attributed to this play, are all universal ideas and thoughts. Just as Agamemnon’s wife wishes to have her actions justified as well as her emotions towards her husband. The evidence for this: come in how Clytemnestra question who is more right, the
The Oresteia is a collection of three tragedies written by Aeschylus for an Athenian tragedy competition in 458 BCE. This trilogy tells the story of a family who is caught up in a whirl of death all caused by the same motivation: revenge. All the dramatic murders end up leading to a civilized justice system being created instead of having people take matters into their own hands. Throughout the plays, Aeschylus portrays women characters as evil and powerful and male characters as weak, which eventually causes their death. Aeschylus’ purpose in portraying his characters this way was to show that unlike his characters, men should be strong and powerful while women should be weak.
In the early 400s B.C., two works, the first Medea by Euripides and the second, Antigone by Sophocles, entered Greek culture, exposing its anxieties through the roles of women. Both authors presented the lives of women in light of a prestigious society in order to make a point concerning the way others falsely viewed women. Specifically, in the narratives, Medea and Antigone respond to conflict in an assertive fashion, rather than submissively. This characteristic which, according to societal standards, ought not to be known to women, causes others to view them as foolish, impulsive women; regardless of the societal pressures and judgements, they relentlessly pursued their goals.