Gender Roles in Odysseus Order of Society

929 WordsFeb 26, 20184 Pages
Gender roles play an essential part in Homeric society. Book 1 sees Telemachos’ interaction with his mother Penelope that is again repeated in a few more scenes, which put emphasis on gender role in an ideal Homeric society. However, book 7 reveals an action that goes against the principles of gender role during the interaction between Odysseus and Arete. While there exists complexity in the ways women are treated, whether by them being confined or by exercising minimal power, the Homeric society ultimately remains a male dominant society. In the first scene, in book 1.355-359, Telemachos commands Queen Penelope to go back to her room. Without any response or argument, she obeys his order. This is one of the very first acts in the book to indicate that it is only for men to listen to poems and/or songs and participate in discussions (1.358), and not for women because of their weak emotions. The same scene is repeated in book 21; however, here Telemachos brings up another aspect of men’s ascendancy - weapons, more specifically, ‘bow’ (21.345). He clarifies that dealing with weaponry is only men’s concern and not women’s. In both scenes, he emphasizes that he as a man holds more power than her, despite Penelope being the queen. A third scene of Telemachos’ assertive interaction with Penelope is when he “called her by name and scolded her” (23.96) for not caring about her husband after his long return. While analyzing such interactions among opposite genders, it
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