In ancient times, there is a general sense that women were simply items and slaves to their husbands. Ancient Greece specifically has a renowned reputation of favoring men. Men possessed the dominant role in public affairs and events while most women were pressured to stay at home. Very few records extensively discuss women; the records focus mostly on men. Despite the lacking records, it is certain how ancient Greeks viewed their women and their relationships with their male counterparts.
Women in the 18th century often did not have a say in life decisions. They were subjected to the whims of the men around them. In the classic novel, Candide, by Voltaire, the main love interest, Cunegonde, is the victim of this time period. When she is reunited with Candide, she decides to tell him her “story” after he was booted out of the house by her father. Cunegonde essentially divulges that men were imposing their thoughts on her without care for her feelings.
Lotus-eaters, Polyphemus, sirens and suitors were all slain and outwitted by Odysseus, King of Ithaca and victorious fighter in the trojan war, but no one ever realizes that Odysseus could never have completed his trials without the help of goddesses, Athena and Circe. Homer’s famous epic, The Odyssey although thousands of years old shows a masculine-feminine balance through the imperative involvement of Athena and Circe in Odysseus' return home. The Odyssey tells the tale of the strong, godlike Odysseus on his voyage home from battle. What people don’t focus on are the women in his life like, Athena and Circe that give him the capability to endure a threatened homelife and the long journey home. Athena has always had a soft spot for Odysseus
He is an epic hero which means he had to face a low point. However, the low point does not define the hero, the action and recovery to the low point is what defines the hero. Knowledge of the future can cloud the judgement of even the most intelligent people. Odysseus makes his decision and he has to face the consequences and deal with the grief of losing his men in a tragic way. He learns that his actions can determine the life of others, or at least how they live their final days.
Gender equality: as big a myth as the Greek gods themselves. Misogyny dates back to millenia ago, finding its place in society then as it does now. Ancient Greece literature is no exception, as Homer’s The Odyssey shows. Homer illustrates for readers how traditional gender roles limit women, evidenced by the numerous examples of inequality between men and women. While men are lauded for being strong, intelligent heroes, it seems that the only achievement women can accomplish is being beautiful.
Since Creon gave their brother Eteocles a proper one, she believes that he is wrong for not giving Polyneices one. Antigone goes against the rules of society because of her bravery, and chooses that she wants to be a voice for all women, because in Greek society women don’t have a say on what they can and can’t do. Her bravery helps her rebel against those rules so they have equal rights compared to men. When Ismene hears what Antigone is planning she is worried because she is afraid to disobey the men who expect highly of her. She feels women are ruled by men because they are weak and Antigone has asked Ismene to help her in breaking the law, and to giving her brother a proper burial.
Homer displays women as tangible items through male interactions with one another. Women are looked at as inferior both mentally and physically to men. This is evident by the fact that women are given as sexual items, toys and trophies to men. Homer rarely empathizes the attractiveness of the heroic man. Beauty pertains to the goddesses and women.
While it was a common practice for ancient civilizations to place females in a subordinate position in society, Etruscans' mentality and attitude on contrary were reversed. They treated females in a very dignified manner as women had the freedom of speech, financial ability and most importantly power. Etruscans had one of the highest gender equalities in contrast to other ancient civilizations of that existing period for instance the Romans because in Roman societies, symposiums were considered strictly as an all male sector only where it involves male thoughts sharing, festive drinking etc. but Etruscans were on the exact opposite end. Etruscan females were allowed to participate in the symposiums, attend banquets, share a toast with
If women’s husband were to die, they certainly must not remarry and instead remain celibate. This attitude is reflected in The Duchess of Malfi, where the protagonist’s brothers shame her for expressing her desire to remarry after her husband dies. Even so, she possesses an extraordinary amount of power in the play that was prodigiously radical during the Renaissance era. Meanwhile, Shakespeare wrote Richard III which, for a play completely dominated by its titular character, has, in my opinion, some outstanding female characters that convey authority over him, however, as I will explain later on in my argument, many critics disagree with this. Throughout this essay, I will aim to express the argument that female power is represented positively in both Richard III and The Duchess of Malfi, despite their male counterparts,
Women are also stereotyped as stay at home mothers. There is an invisible restriction put on women by men that they can’t be a mother and have a full time job at the same time. Neil French, the WPP Group PLC executive stated women “Don’t make it to the top because they don’t deserve to” and that “women are rarities in the senior corporate positions because most are unwilling to make the personal sacrifices of time and energy required to be the boss” (Maich). The words spoken by this successful male go to show the inequality faced by women every day. Women have an even harder job balancing household obligations and a job.