Imagine this, you go on a one man trip to go to Europe for a month, at the end of that month you hear from your best friend on a text message that a group of eighteen men are in your house stealing and trying to get your wife. Would you go back and fight them, or just try to talk it out? All I know is that will a group of eighteen men, they're not going to want to negotiate.
In the poem written by Homer, "The Odyssey", there is evidence of these views as pointed out by Sue Blundell. In her book, Women in Ancient Greece, she gives many examples but I would like to just touch on a few. Sue suggests many of the monsters encountered in The Odyssey are unmistakably female. Woman are to be seen as having a sexual power to engulf and obliterate men if they become to closely involved with them (Blundell, 51). This might explain why women are kept in check in Greek society and why men are not to be blamed for their
The patriarchal nature of ancient Greece, especially in The Odyssey, is talked about by scholars globally. Despite this prejudice, reading The Odyssey, multiple strong women are revealed, both antagonists to the hero Odysseus and his helpers, sometimes both in one.
The #MeToo movement has brought the most recent revelations of misogyny in modern society. Sexism has been present throughout history, and the Greek society in Homer’s The Odyssey is no exception. It tells of the hero Odysseus’ journey back to his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemakhos, on Ithaka, including his delays by the nymph, Kalypso. Throughout the epic, Homer portrays that society’s perceptions of female inferiority lead to harsher expectations of and stereotypes for women, as shown by the powerlessness, sexual double standard, and seductive stereotypes of women.
Although men are the Epic characters of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey, women also play a very important role in both stories. In general, these two stories portray women as being overly sexual, deceptive, and having a power over men. Women use their sexuality to hold control over men, to confuse and deceive them.
The Greek and Roman societies were a very patriarchal society. This is reflected throughout the myths in classical mythology. By looking at the many pieces of literature involving Greeks and Romans we will see that the roles women portrayed are very different from women’s roles in today’s society. Although there are a few similarities to women’s roles in today’s society, their roles are more like those women in the past. We can see this by looking at the qualities of Greek and Roman female gods and looking at the roles women play in the myths.
‘The Odyssey’, like other epic poems, is patriarchally centered. The poem is focused on “godlike” Odysseus and his laborious journey home (Homer __). In Ancient Greece, the time of Homer, women were commonly viewed as part of oikos headed by the male kyrios. They were expected to be submissive, domesticated, and viewed as their master’s property. This raises an important question in the context of this epic: are women only secondary characters that blindly follow the decisions of their male counterparts or do they have the ability to make their decisions freely? Homer, a forward thinker for his time, allowed the reader to make this judgement by including two paradoxical characters: Penelope and Calypso. Penelope, the “faithful” wife of Odysseus, spends most of her time crying and longing for her husband. She is compliant and passive, never making a decision without her husband (homer __). Calypso, on the other hand, takes her sexuality into her own hands. She traps Odysseus in Ogygia and attempts to force herself on him, showing that she does not follow the norms of being an obedient woman. Through the inclusion of Penelope and Calypso, Homer is able to address the view of women in typical epic poems by both accepting it and challenging it in order to redefine what is expected of epic tradition.
Homer’s Odyssey is an epic tale set in the world of ancient Greece - a world dominated by men. Admirable men such as Odysseus, the story’s protagonist, are strong, cunning, and wise; they have control over their lives and the people within them. In The Odyssey, the quintessential man is characterized by his authority, including control of the women who surround him. As is suggested throughout the novel, the patriarchal world would fall into disarray without the force of intrinsic male authority. Odysseus’s struggles with his wife, his son’s search for manhood, and the wiles of cunning women like Clytemnestra and Calypso highlight the disordering powers of women. These disordering powers justify, to the men within this world, the necessity
Therefore to restore order Homer uses this symbolic reverse of the sexes. This in part disrupts the norm in order for peace to be restored. Without Odysseus experiencing the limitations of his masculinity, order within Ithaca and his family would not be restored. On his journey back to his native land, Odysseus experiences many cultures who’s social order is a complete reversal of his own. This includes variations of where women are placed within their society as well as their communal, sexual and political roles. In book 10 when Odysseus is on Circe’s island, his men flock around him like calves about their mother. This symbolically makes the men feel like they have regained Ithaca, however Odysseus is not Ithaca. When Odysseus journeys to the underworld he realizes that his masculine identity depends not only on his heroic duties and warlike actions, but also on the people who surround him like his wife, son, mother and father. When talking to Achilles in the underworld, Odysseus learns that because these warrior’s identity is directly associated with their masculinity their identity basically disappears in death. Death is therefore the emasculating form of loss of oneself to these characters. Since his masculinity is gone while he resides in the underworld, he learns that his brave and heroic actions and everything he fought for does not hold any significance in this
According to the ancient Greeks, men were superior to women and held more power. This can be illustrated in “The Odyssey of Homer” when Athene gives Telemachos
Women in The Odyssey desire power and equal opportunities, but strict gender roles do not allow them to achieve equality. An example of this is Queen Penelope. Her husband, King Odysseus, has been gone for 20 years and missing for 10 of those, and she's completely helpless against the suitors who have overrun her house. The intention of these suitors being is to marry Penelope (against her will) and take over the thrown. In book two Telemachus calls a meeting of all these men to share his exasperation and anger over the fact that all the suitors have been taking his cattle, wrecking his home, and longing after his mother against her will. Nobody spoke up, except for Antinous. He was a sly man who had discovered Penelope’s secret, and decided
Homer wrote the classic epic The Odyssey more than 2,500 years ago. At that time in ancient Greek society, as well as in the whole of the ancient world, the dominant role was played by men. Society was organized, directed, and controlled by men, and it was accepted that women occupied a subservient and inferior position. Women, of course, were valued, but were expected to possess certain traits and perform certain tasks that men demanded of them. Does Homer's writing in The Odyssey support or refute the common belief of his time regarding women? Homer endorsed the dominating belief of his time concerning women by treating the female characters unequally and differently compared to the male characters in
Women in ancient Greece had very few rights in comparison to male citizens. Women were unable to vote, own property, or inherit wealth. A woman’s place was in the home and her purpose in life was to rear children. Considering this limited role in society, we see a diverse cast of female characters in Greek mythology. We are presented with women that are powerful and warlike, or sexualized, submissive and emotionally unstable. In many myths, we encounter subversive behavior from women, suggesting, perhaps, the possibility of female empowerment. While produced in an ostensibly misogynistic and oppressive society, these myths consider the possibility for a collapse of male power and the patriarchal system. In Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey,
Males’ authority is also clearly visible in Theogony. In this text all major duties and decisions are made by the male God (Zeus), while there are also goddesses who could have made those decisions. Hesiod writes that, “He [Zeus] has appointed their [Muses’] ordinances to the immortals, well in each detail, and assigned them their privileges” (Hesiod, pg 4). He further explains that the kings were the ones that made important judgments and settled disputes whenever the need to do so arises. Moreover, Hesiod tells that “When he [king] goes among a gathering, they seek his favour with conciliatory reverence, as if he was a God, and he stands out among the crowd” (Hesiod, pg. 5). This portrays a male as a superior being and a ruler.
There were far more restrictions placed on the women of the ancient world than on the men. To many, this may appear to be an obvious fact. However, the comparison of women to men in the Odyssey does not show such a discrepancy. The women created by Homer had certain characteristics that set them apart from ordinary women. Penelope was a woman who did not give in to the demands of her surroundings. She suffered throughout the twenty year absence of her husband, Odysseus. She maintained her dignity and her chastity through her refusal of the hoards of suitors that flocked to her home. Penelope represents the ideal woman for balancing her refusals of marriage and the preservation of her respect. When ready to address her suitors, Eurymachus, a suitor himself, speaks out from the crowd in praise of Penelope. He states, "Ah, daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope . . . You surpass all women in build and beauty, refined and steady mind" (18. 276,280). The acts of Penelope would not have been allowed of an ordinary woman of those times. Her loyalty to Odysseus was unflagging and quite contrary to Clytaemestra's loyalty, another character in the Odyssey, though she is never mentioned by name.