This patriarchal system that oppresses women for their actions, including shunning them for being deceptive, reveals the double standard in society, but also reveals the social statuses in this time period that oppressed women and bound them from being able to change the overall epic. The approval of the gods and their succor was all the Greeks wanted at the time;
Their authority showed the idea behind an old proverb, which states, “Behind every great man there’s a great woman”. Throughout The Odyssey, the women exemplified their power during the course of Odysseus’ journey. Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, bravely held down the front in Ithaca while her husband struggled to find his way back home. In Book 18, Penelope spoke to the ever-so-desperate suitors about what Odysseus “told” her before he left. She claimed “He caught my right hand.
Athens and Sparta did many things similarly pertaining to gender roles, but they also did things differently. One such example is that Athens was very restrictive in what they allowed women to do. Athens really put a taboo on women going outside, and doing hard labor. Sparta on the other hand, put an emphasis on women going out, being part of the community, and exercising. However, both Athens and Sparta believed that only men should get to fight in wars, and they both believed that only men should hold leadership
Furthermore, Feminist Criticism provides a better view of literature because it shows that women can be powerful. When Emilia finds out that her husband has been plotting an evil plan she says,” Tis proper I obey him, but not now”(Othello V.2.195). Emilia refuses to help her husband after she finds the cruel intentions he has despite the expectation of women always being submissive to their husbands. Women also have a voice and feelings, they are capable of defying their husbands commands when they know what he expects is simply wrong. In a literary article,The Role of Women in Othello: A Feminist Reading states that,” Society weighs heavily on the shoulders of women; they feel that they must support the men and defer to them, even if the actions of the men are questionable” (Literary Articles).
Transitioning from the archaic period to the classical period there is a shift from the gods being the main characters of the plays, to being the overseeing forces that make events happen in humans lives. In Hippolytus and The Women of Trachis, Aphrodite and Zeus are seen as responsible for making sure humans meet their fate. Phoenician Women shows this concept in its purest form by solely having human characters and the gods being only conceptual. The characters in tragedies make sense of the terrible things that happen to them through the belief that the gods made it destined to happen. Without this rational, humans would have no way to justify such tragic events.
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.
While fictitious, this story does show one bit of truth, the way women were being treated during this era. “ I beg the ancient privilege of Athens: as she is mine, I may dispose of her, which shall either be with this fine gentleman (Demetrius) or to her death according to our law, immediately provided in that case” (1.1.45-48). Hermia wishes to marry her true love Lysander, who in turn loves her as well; however, even though he is as good a man as Demetrius, status-wise, Hermia’s father, Egeus, would rather kill her or turn her into a nun than let Hermia control her life. This practice was widely done by the Elizabethans. Daughters had no choice but to marry the man their father
For example Anthony says, “but this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters, of every household” This is very sad since women and girls should not be ruled or told what to do because they are thought of to be less than man. The constitution is in place to have a unified country not to have an oligarchy of men lead households. The pathos appeal is used to show what suffering women are going through due to men ruling them, and not knowing how to fight back. Susan B. Anthony in her speech also says, “Are women persons?.....and no state has the right to make a law, or to enforce an old law, that shall abridge their privileges and immunities.”, which also connects with the emotions of the audience. She is trying to make people feel bad that women are treated less even though they are just as righteous as men to have the same privileges.
This quote is the most important quote in the whole story because it proves Georgiana did like her birthmark at some point. If Georgiana never liked her birthmark it would be a different story, she would have had it removed for herself; but she had loved her birthmark and got it removed for Aylmer’s happiness, not her own. “Not even Aylmer now hated it as much as she” (Hawthorne, 297). All the things Aylmer said and did resulted in Georgiana hating her birthmark. She was told and shown, so often, how vile it was that she finally believed it; he made her believe it.
The role of women in The Odyssey is to exhibit the many roles that women perform in the lives of men. There is a quote that states that behind every successful men there is a woman; to which homer would probably agree. As it was stated before, we can make reference to such quote by picturing The Odyssey without woman in the epic. Without woman, Odysseus would probably make it faster to Ithaca or would probably die in many of the obstacles that Zeus was putting in his way. Men’s position or respect, in ancient Greek mythology, was determinate by the things had successfully fulfilled in their life but no men had ever recognize that such success is part of the role that woman have in their lives.