Women in The Odyssey Gender roles, specifically of women, were a little different back in 700 B.C. They played more of a typical role, expected to get married and have kids at a young age. They were expected to take care of the house and children, while their husbands were out fighting wars. However, while women in The Odyssey were greatly valued for their beauty, Homer reveals that they also had to be intelligent to be successful in their lives.
Degradation of Women Viewed from Modern American Context On Tuesday, February 6th, the Crockett House Firm charged the epic poem, The Odyssey, for representing the degradation of women, specifically, women being objectified and misrepresented. The Crockett House Firm wants these charges to be judges from a modern, American cultural context. The Crockett House firm is the prosecution and finds The Odyssey guilty of the charges. The Griffin House Firm is the defense for this trial and finds The Odyssey not guilty.
“The Odyssey”, what name instantly pops in your head when you hear that? The one and only Odysseus, however that should not be the only name you should think of. Penelope is just as much of a hero as Odysseus. There are many important and meaningful women in The Odyssey. Including Penelope who was Odysseys’ wife, and which she was very faithful and honest.
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.
Even though women had more independence in Egypt compared to other societies, equality among the sexes was not apparent. There were certain roles in societies that were strictly male or female, causing a limited choice on careers and within the job had certain tasks relating the gender. For example, it was obtainable for both men and women to be servants but within that, they acquired different responsibilities. Men worked with the beer and meat, brewing and butchering it: and women dealt with grounding grain and baking bread. Throughout the kingdoms, an evolution of gender roles in society took place.
Women’s roles has changed dramatically throughout history. By looking at the lives of women, it would be possible to tell how the civilians at that specific period of time were living. In this paper, women’s lives in mainly three civilizations would be discussed, the Sparta, the Athens, and the Hellenistic era. In Sparta, women were needed to live at home, while their husbands remained in military barracks until the age thirty.
Throughout history, women have been second fiddle to men. Females have been degraded, disrespected, and undermined; they’ve been ignored, silenced, and gone unheard. This gender inequality is present even in The Odyssey, though it includes many important female figures. Penelope, Calypso, Circe, and more are all crucial to the plot, and some even responsible for the happy ending, yet when inspected closely female stereotypes emerge. The majority of the women are presented as seductresses, the others as mothers, and almost all as fragile and dependent on men.
Gender inequality is not a new topic. Throughout history, women have faced significant sexist discrimination starting with being denied basic rights enjoyed by men. In many societies, women have been categorized as inferior to men. Greek poet, Homer, consistently highlighted this ‘women are inferior’ theme throughout his writings of The Iliad and The Odyssey. Even though this degradation of women has currently been brought to light in the 21st century, it continues to remain a serious issue.
Women are weak, helpless, and have no real purpose other than to serve men and take care of children. . . or so they were perceived in history. In the Odyssey, one can see that Homer’s portrayal of women challenges the depiction of women during that time period. Throughout the book, many women intervened in Odysseus’ journey home to Ithaca, for better or for worse. One will see Penelope, Athena, Circe, and other women impact Odysseus’ expedition home.
Patriarchy is the typical system in a society where the male holds the most power over a female. Multiple civilizations have been this way for centuries. There are many aspects that caused this division between the two genders. The causes in the development of patriarchy from the Paleolithic Eras to the Neolithic Eras are the creation of civilizations, home environments ,and agriculture. Each one of these causes lead to one another because they have a “chain reaction.”
While ancient civilizations had commonly put their women in the lower level of the society, the Etruscans treated their women differently. Etruscan women are known to be taken seriously and enjoyed a great deal of freedom and equality with that of men. For instance, while most Roman societies considered symposiums, such as those that included festive drinking, sex and the involvement in the sharing of thoughts to be an all-man’s affair, it was not so among the Etruscans. Women in the Etruscan society are allowed to attend banquets, and share a toast with men, signifying how they are equally treated in the society. While historians have difficulty interpreting the literary works of the Etruscans, they shifted their focus on other archaeological
In Greek epics, tragedies, and mythology women are portrayed in various ways. Women are mainly considered to be weak and less important than men, but there are some women who are shown to be strong and heroic, despite the reputation that was placed onto them in Ancient Greek civilizations. There were two particular women that were strong and took the roles of their husbands while the men left to fight in the Trojan War. These two women were Penelope, wife of Odysseus, and Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon. These two women were different in how they chose to rule while their husbands were at war and how they acted once they got back.
The Odyssey by Homer contains multiple moments where female characters are oppressed or fit into a patriarchy, but there are several moments where these character show signs of rebellion against this oppression. Applying a critical lense of feminism to these characters and relationships create complexities and conflicts within the novel that shine meaning on the world. The character Penelope offers many of these moments. Analyzing the actions, situation, and comparisons with other characters using a the feminist critical lense will show a more enriched version of Penelope and offer a deeper insight of the patriarchy, and how is affects the world.
The Geek society had may guidelines concerning the way men and women were treated and the roles they played within society. “The concept of gender was an integral aspect of this social hierarchy; power was not evenly distributed and only men were allowed to participate in prestige activities such as politics, law, or the military” (“The Ure Museum”). The values of gender roles within the Greek society are expressed in the play Medea by Euripides. Though Euripides tried to show the disparities of how women are treated compared to men, he still uses some of the same stereotypes exhibited within Greek society. Some issues that will be discussed are the way the women are portrayed in Greek society.
The second example in which dominance of patriarchy plays a role and impacts the perception of justice is through the characterization and image of the Furies. The Furies try to achieve justice but an obstacle, male dominance or Apollo, prevents them from taking justice. The Furies mention, We are the Furies, yes, but now are rage that patrolled the crimes of men, that stalked their rage dissolves – we loose a lethal tide to sweep the world! (lines 514-517).