Greek Tragedy : The Woman And The Man

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I was first introduced to Greek tragedy through this course. Of course, I read a few things here and there in high school, and there are some popular movies out currently, but my first real indulgence in this literature came from taking this class. One of the very first things I noticed about Greek tragedy was the blatant inequality of the genders. Across almost all of the writing, there is a discrepancy between the expectations of the woman and the man and, in most of the texts, its ignored and really just put out there for you to accept. Women had a very unique and understated role in Greek civilization. Sometimes it is very subtle, and sometimes it is very blunt how the role of the woman is portrayed and what it actually means to the…show more content…
In both poems women are important in Greek culture, but they play a much more controlled and restricted role in Homeric Greece. Women were expected to be loyal and obedient to their husbands. They were expected to be graceful, dutiful wives and mothers. But, above all else, they were required to take a role that depended on the existence of man in their lives. For example, Hector’s mother, Hecuba, is a female character that fits the standard feminine role. She feared for her son, and urged him not to re-enter the battle. Although her worries were undeniably valid, Hector disregarded her wishes, because to have listened to any women (even your mother) during those times would have been considered weak and cowardly. Hecuba almost functioned in the same capacity as the Chorus in a Greek tragedy. Her voice was merely the voice of her culture. Hector’s wife, Andromache, also begged Hector to remain at home with her and their child. She knew the Trojan cause was doomed, and she wanted to hold onto her husband for as long as she could keep them together. Even though it was clear that Hector loved Andromache, and they shared a strong love for their son, he told her, “Please go home and tend to your own tasks, the distaff and the loom, and keep the women working hard as well” (Iliad, Book VI, 304-305). At this point in the text, you see Andromache as not only a respectful devoted wife, but a frightened woman. These views of her are only in
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