What Is Margaret Atwood's Use Of Female Subjectivity

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Women compared to men have been considered less throughout the years. Societal views and norms categorize women as being domestic, gentle and soft-spoken. Rarely, have we seen women portrayed as powerful, outspoken and in control. The use of female subjectivity in works allows the audience to distinguish the author’s point of view on females. Subjectivity refers to how someone’s judgment is shaped by personal opinions and feelings instead of outside influences. (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary) Godard’s film lacks female subjectivity compared to Atwood’s use of female subjectivity in her book. In Jean Luc Godard’s film, Contempt, he portrays Camille as being closed off and not showing her true feelings and emotions. It all starts when…show more content…
Penelope’s subjectivity is used to retell her side of The Odyssey. The audience is able to understand her true feelings, thoughts, emotions and remarks in respect to Odysseus being gone for so long, the killing of the suitors and maids and her views toward Helen. Penelope shows us the despise and hatred she has toward Helen but her need to know any news about her is seen throughout the book. Helen’s name appears several times and Penelope on occasions compares herself with Helen. Helen, “of course was very beautiful…[and] much in demand [and] it didn’t seem fair. (Atwood, pg. 20) Helen believed she was nothing special compared to Helen but she did believe she was clever and smart. (Atwood, pg.21) Atwood portrays Penelope as insecure when compared to Helen, unlike in the Odyssey, she’s portrayed as this beautiful goddess that isn’t self doubting of herself. In The Odyssey, Penelope is portrayed as this faithful wife that was hopelessly waiting for Odysseus. However, Atwood shows Penelope regretting not cheating, she states “hadn’t I waited, and waited, and waited, despite the temptation” (Atwood, pg.2) and admits to occasionally daydreaming “about which one [she] would rather go to bed with.” (Atwood, pg. 105) These thoughts reveal to the audience that Penelope was tempted to cheat just as much as man but she controlled it, in efforts to remain faithful to Odysseus. The hanging of the maids affected Penelope largely due to the fact that she raised them like her own and she felt it was her fault. She couldn’t believe she slept through the whole thing and that her helpers, her snow white geese, her thrushes and doves had been killed. (Atwood, pgs. 159-160) Although we see many different sides of Penelope throughout Atwood’s portrayal, we can’t help but think that this is one sided and should we really believe everything Penelope is
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