The Submissive Women In The Odyssey

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Always Submissive and Sexy

Do you believe that the two sexes today are treated differently from one another? In the Odyssey, written by Homer, there is a constant comparison between the opposite sexes. Throughout this book, Odysseus struggles to get home to his submissive wife Penelope. He encounters challenges, one of which is beautiful tempting women who urge him to stay. Meanwhile, Penelope is in Ithaka busy dealing with the suitors who vie for her hand in marriage, tending to her loom, and directing her serving maids at work. In Homer’s epic poem, women, and goddesses are treated differently than men and gods when it comes to their freedom, expectations, and image.
One common occurrence in this epic poem is unequal freedom for women,
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Soon after Kalypso gives Odysseus permission to leave, she tries to convince him that he should stay. She tells him that she is better than his current wife and she is not any “less desirable than she is” (5.220). This lures Odysseus in and he agrees with her saying that “death and old age being unknown to [her], while [Penelope] must die” (5.227). During this scene, Kalypso is using her beauty, sexual appearance, and immortality to lure in Odysseus. This image of women constantly succeeds in attracting men. Following, right before the competition starts for Penelope’s heart, Athena “endowed her with immortal grace to hold the eyes of the Akhaians…” (18.241-245). She makes Penelope more beautiful and appealing to the suitors, so that they will be compelled to fight harder. When she comes to greet the suitors, “weakness took those men in the knee joints, their hearts grew faint with lust; not one but swore to god to lay beside her” (18.265-267). What Athena does to Penelope works, and the suitors want to win the competitions so they can sleep with her because of her immortal beauty. Again, a women’s image is being sexualized to please the man. In both these instances, it is never enough for women to be themselves, they always need to become more attractive, stunning, and
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