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Oppression Of Women In Homer's Odyssey

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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. For the many years that Odysseus has been away, Penelope is able
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Circe’s aggressive display of hospitality is the opposite of the general standard of how women are expected to perform. For instance, when Odysseus’ men arrive at her island, she deceives them into eating a meal with “her own vile pinch, to make them lose desire or thought of [their] dear father land” (Homer 10.30-31). While other women are expected to welcome men with open arms, Circe disregards the common notion and goes against them. Her ability to control and manipulate the situation for her own benefit shows how she holds a strong authority over anyone who might wish to challenge her. Including her firm control, her knowledge and intellect causes her to have a great effect on Odysseus’ future. For example, with her ability to see what is to come, Circe predicts “destruction for [Odysseus’] ship and crew” (Homer 12.104-105). Circe’s knowledge controls the choices that Odysseus makes in order to avoid his downfall which proves how he relies on her guidance and wisdom. Her prediction determines the fate of Odysseus’ men and impacts the course of events that happens afterwards. As well as her knowledge, Circe uses her appearance to seduce Odysseus and keep him on her island. Generally, Circe is perceived as “a dominant figure that tempts and empowers men” (Phillips). While men are generally known to take advantage of women, Circe misleads and overpowers them for her own gain. Her need to show dominance helps build her strong and formidable character that has a vital impact on the lives of Odysseus and his men. Throughout the poem, Circe’s character establishes how women are able to conquer and prevail over others with their own strength and
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