In Homer's epic poem,The Odyssey, women are a major part of the story. In ancient times, women were very limited to their rights. They were expected to stay at home all day every day. When men would cheat on their wives it was fine, but when woman cheated they were shamed. When their husbands would leave, they would have to feel lonely while the Husband could go off and cheat. For example, when odysseus left Penelope all alone, he went out and cheated on her with Calypso. Although many people believe that Homer presented woman positively, the characters the Sirens, Scylla and Calypso actually suggest the opposite.
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.
Women are weak, helpless, and have no real purpose other than to serve men and take care of children. . . or so they were perceived in history. In the Odyssey, one can see that Homer’s portrayal of women challenges the depiction of women during that time period. Throughout the book, many women intervened in Odysseus’ journey home to Ithaca, for better or for worse. One will see Penelope, Athena, Circe, and other women impact Odysseus’ expedition home. These women influenced the conditions of the journey by guiding Odysseus in different directions, and aiding him crucially. 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.
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.
In spite of the fact that Homer’s Odyssey is an epic story of a man’s gallant journey, women play a huge part throughout. Their unique yet controversial personalities, intentions, and relationships are vital to the development of this epic and adventurous journey of Odysseus. The poem by Homer was written at a time when women had an inferior position in society, yet that didn’t stop them from being any less influential. All of the women throughout the Odyssey possess different qualities, but all of them help to define the role of the ideal woman.
Women in The Odyssey Gender roles, specifically of women, were a little different back in 700 B.C. They played more of a typical role, expected to get married and have kids at a young age. They were expected to take care of the house and children, while their husbands were out fighting wars. However, while women in The Odyssey were greatly valued for their beauty, Homer reveals that they also had to be intelligent to be successful in their lives.
The Odyssey by Homer bares a multitude of symbols, such as the sirens, Calypso, and Circe. However, in the story they are more than temptresses meant to lure Odysseus away from his task at hand with their alluring voices and beautiful visages. The mesmerizing women are personifications of the faults of men. When Odysseus succeeds in escaping their clutches it makes him more heroic because he doesn’t suffer from the flaws many others before him have died from.
World Literature Paper – Role of Athena and Penelope in The Odyssey Homer’s, The Odyssey is an epic which was written many years ago. At that time, in Ancient Greek society, the dominant role was played by men and the women were considered and given an inferior position. But The Odyssey was often considered a women’s epic because women played an important role. Women in The Odyssey are portrayed as powerful, wise and controlling because they ensure that the illusion of male success will go on - they speak as men through women.
Homer uses the Gods and Goddesses impact on Odysseus to show how redemption can be earned which is illustrated through Foster's quest theory. Circe, Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, and Helios are gods that symbolize mythological ideas, whereas in the Odyssey they symbolize lessons Odysseus needs to learn. Odysseus is a man that is judged by the gods all the time, he is on a journey to get home to his family from war. Odysseus does not always make the best decisions and it gets himself in big trouble. Circe, the goddess of sorcery, “informs him that in order to reach home he must journey to the land of the dead, Hades, and consult the blind prophet Tiresias” (Homer 699).
In “Gender and the Homeric Epic”, an article by Nancy Felson and Laura M. Slatkin, the gender roles of various characters in The Odyssey, an epic poem by Homer, are examined in the constraining and progressive lens Homer takes. The characters of the epic most explicitly analyzed are Odysseus and his wife, Penelope; in this article the authors show the traditional gender roles both adhere to, but also exhibit the ways in which the characters are able to reach across the restraining gender roles, without making this story entirely about gender. Through this article one can see that the constraining nature of gender roles seen in society, is not inherent in the society presented in The Odyssey, which describes an intrinsic fluidity which is seen in a plethora of characters. “Gender and the Homeric Epic” discusses the gender roles conceived throughout Homer’s story through the characters Homer and Penelope. Homer represents the masculine war hero, returning home with what should be glory and happiness.
The Odyssey by Homer contains multiple moments where female characters are oppressed or fit into a patriarchy, but there are several moments where these character show signs of rebellion against this oppression. Applying a critical lense of feminism to these characters and relationships create complexities and conflicts within the novel that shine meaning on the world. The character Penelope offers many of these moments. Analyzing the actions, situation, and comparisons with other characters using a the feminist critical lense will show a more enriched version of Penelope and offer a deeper insight of the patriarchy, and how is affects the world.
In an epic poem, The Odyssey, by Homer, Odysseus struggles to come back home while his wife, Penelope, faces barbarous suitors who plague her house to court her for the marriage in order to claim the kingship of Ithaca. With an absence of the man of the household and a son who is not old enough to rule over the country and handle the domestic complications, Penelope endeavors to keep the household orderly and civilized. In order to prevent further chaos in the household, Penelope maintains her role as the Queen of Ithaca and Odysseus’s wife through her loyalty and cunning. For a woman who does not know when her man will return home, Penelope is extremely strong to keep hope and wait for her husband; thus, her unwavering loyalty to her husband
On the other hand, women are shamed for having the same relationships. These double standards are portrayed in literature as well. In Homer’s The Odyssey, we see these double standards applied to its’ story and characters. It was especially applied to Odysseus, the main Greek hero in this epic.
Known as an epic war poem, The Iliad delves into topics concerning masculinity, heroism, and bravery. Women play a modest but important role that forms the structure of the plot. Helen’s character aids in expanding Menelaus and Paris’ characters. Homer does not delve into the lives of women like he does with the men, speaking to the notion of inferiority between the sexes. 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. Homer infers that a woman’s importance lies in her looks while for men their importance lies in their heroism. Throughout The Iliad, Homer highlights the gender inequalities between Helen and her male counterparts Agamemnon, Achilles, and Paris.
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.