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.
Countless of these tearful songs have been written, describing the image of the woman behind a hero’s victory. In The “Odyssey”, Homer transforms the audience’s perspective about women significantly. All of them, whether beautiful woman or powerful goddesses, are occupied by sorrows. Especially, Penelope and Calypso--the two most influential women in both appearance and the complicated relationship with the guile hero. Although they have very different personalities and backgrounds--one is the queen of Ithaca, and the other is a magnificent goddess. However they are both caught in a same trouble--they expect too much from Odysseus, and they are striving for a hopeless purpose. They both undergo great sufferings, but neither of them is in control
During his trip to the underworld, Odysseus encounters numerous types of women. Homer tends to describe these women by detailing their attractiveness, successful kin, or scandalous sexual affairs with gods, but never by their own accomplishments. It appears that the only accomplishment Homer’s women can achieve is being remarkably attractive. For instance, Odysseus’ queen, Penelope, is admired because of her beauty and status as a newly single queen. The suitors show no inkling of respect for her. They refuse to stop using Odysseus’ wealth to better themselves. Since she is a woman, however, Penelope lacks the power to control or banish these men. Through Penelope, Homer tells the Greeks how a picture-perfect wife should act toward her husband. Even though Odysseus has been gone for twenty years, Penelope still follows his wishes and fulfills his desire for her to stay
The conversation between Athena and Odysseus in the middle of book 13 reveals how each of them feels and thinks about the other at this stage in the epic. When Athena is first coming to meet Odysseus, after he has landed on Ithaca, she decides not to appear as herself to Odysseus, but first as a “young man… a shepherd boy”, and she then changes back to herself (13.252). She does this to get an honest opinion from him, as if she had appeared as a god, he might not have been honest with her. She also wants to hear his story, and see if he is actually thinking about her. After he does not “recognize” her because of her “endless” shapes, she is angry with him and accuses him of “never getting tired of twists and tricks” (13.340,56,32). She is evidently
The treatment of women has always been different in different societies, cultures, and time periods. In the Odyssey, the treatment of the female gods is different than the treatment of mortal women because the gods are a powerful being, but the mortal women are property and owned by their husbands. If a women marries a man who she has more money then, they will live in her house, but he will be in charge of everything, including herself. In book 21 and book 3 show the power of the mortal women compared to the power of the goddesses. In the Odyssey, the mortal women are treated and used differently from the way that the goddesses are worshiped because of the gender and societal roles that each group of women are assigned.
Greek Mythology is notoriously anti-female revolution. From Aeschylus’s depiction of Clytemnestra’s thirst for power to one’s own Euripides’ depiction of Medea’s rampage of revenge, Greek mythology is terrified of powerful women. The Bacchae by Euripides makes no exception and continues stifling female empowerment; however, Euripides adds his own unique spin on terrifying female depiction. Instead of just representing women in power as monsters to fear, he instead blames femininity as the culprit. He uses the Bacchae, Dionysus, and Pentheus as examples of the danger in accessing one’s own femininity. The Bacchae’s own control of their sexuality, as Pentheus describes “They creep off one by one to lonely spots to have sex with men”, and their feminine features, as their breasts swell and their hair cascades, creates an example of women gone wild with power over themselves
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.
The relationships between the Greek gods and mortals have always been complicated. The gods can be generous and supportive, but also harsh and destructive towards the humans. They claim to be all powerful beings with unlimited power and influence, but in truth, they are far more human than they are perceived. They meddle with human lives, not because they are wise, but because of their own selfish reasons. In Homer’s The Odyssey, gods like Athena and Poseidon interfere with humans to satisfy their own desires, showing that they are just as imperfect and flawed as the mortals that they rule over.
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. Penelope is considered to be the good wife and Clytemnestra is portrayed as the bad wife, for several reasons. Although it may be not be clear, the differences between being a good wife or a bad wife will be determined.
Women are greatly judged by their looks throughout the book. They believe that a woman is successful if any of her direct family have an important position (e.g. King, God) or is a heroic figure. Even though Athena and Calypso are very different, one evident similarity, is their ability to influence and control men. Athena greatly interferes in Telemachus’ and Odysseus’ lives by utilizing her intellect. Her power, influence and control on men can either be seen as a positivity or as a negativity. Her interference lead Calypso to let go of Odysseus, or he might’ve stayed there forever. On the other hand, had she not interfered so much, Odysseus might have been able to get back home much
The Influence of Divine Intervention on the Portrayal of Fate and Free Will in The Odyssey by Homer
Although Zeus is surrounded by gods who prioritize their own desires and self-interest, Zeus remains the main enforcer of morality which manifests in the forms of enforcing the code of hospitality and the upholding of justice. His sense of morality overrules his self-interest and partiality towards his fellow gods. Zeus maintains his moral values and does not fail to act upon these values when dealing with both gods and mortals, despite the fact that his connections to the gods are deeper than his relationships with humans.
The position of women in the societies of Genesis and the Odyssey grant them little power. Despite the pervasive gender hierarchy present in the ancient texts, Rebekah and Nausicaa wield their intelligence and wit to influence those around them. These two women utilize deception and indirect communication in order to alter the lives of prominent men as their means of exerting control within their patriarchal society. Due to their actions, these women become essential to the narratives of Genesis and the Odyssey, for Rebekah is integral to the perpetuation of God’s covenant through familial lineage and Nausicaa is fundamental to Odysseus’ nostos journey.
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. Both works show the hardships of being a woman in power. At the same time, they give their perspectives of the power women disclosed.
The roles and social status of women in ancient times are being described by many well-known playwrights and poets. Yet, different works shows different opinions towards “women power”. In this essay, I am going to compare Homer’s Iliad and The Code of Hammurabi along with Sophocles’ Antigone.