The Deception Of Women In Homer's Odyssey

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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. While Rebekah and Nausicaa differ in their specific reasons for their deceptions, they …show more content…

Rebekah uses her expertise with words to protect Jacob after the deception with Isaac’s blessing. First she instructs Jacob to “flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran” because Esau is “planning to kill you” (Gen. 27:42-43). Then Rebekah approaches her husband saying, “I am weary of my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women such as these, … what good will my life be to me?” (Gen. 27:46). As a son of a prominent patriarch, Jacob is unable to simply run away from his family. Rebekah guarantees Jacob’s escape from their residence in Beer-sheba by using her exasperation with the local women as the reason for him to leave. Through her complaints and sensitivities about preserving the bloodline, she successfully convinces Isaac to send Jacob away immediately to find a wife among their own people. Similarly, Nausicaa twists her words to deliver a message to Odysseus in a roundabout way. She employs framing when she voices the gossip spread by the townspeople, saying “Now who’s that tall, handsome stranger Nausicaa has in tow? ... Her future husband-to-be, just wait! ... Good riddance! … She only spurns her own- countless Phaeacians round about who court her, nothing but our best” (Od. 6.303-312). The use of framing brings about two-fold …show more content…

Both women instigate deceptive techniques as well as indirect communication in order to achieve their goals. Rebekah works through Jacob and deceives Isaac into giving her favored son the final blessing, designating Jacob as the one whom which God’s covenant will be fulfilled. She also assures her son’s safety from Esau’s rage by persuading Isaac to send him to her brother’s land to find a wife there. Comparably, Nausicaa tricks her fellow Phaeacians into believing she and Odysseus have no connections, thus safeguarding against destructive rumors to both of their reputations. In addition, she cunningly conveys to Odysseus her availability and desirability without stating it outright. As a result of their wit and exploits, they contribute to the motion of the stories in Genesis and the Odyssey. They are the essential links that continue the narratives, for without Rebekah there would be no lineage of God’s people and without Nausicaa Odysseus would not have been able to make it home. These women are revolutionary by the fact that they worked within their patriarchal system instead of against it, and thus profoundly impacting the lives and paths of prominent

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