Important Role of Women in Homer's Odyssey Essay examples

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For the Greeks, Homer's Odyssey was much more than just an entertaining tale of gods, monsters, and men, it served as cultural paradigm from which every important role and relationship could be defined. This book, much more so than its counter part The Iliad, gives an eclectic view of the Achean's peacetime civilization. Through Odyssey, we gain an understanding of what is proper or improper in relationships between father and son, god and mortal, servant and master, guest and host, and--importantly--man and woman. Women play a vital role in the movement of this narrative. Unlike in The Iliad, where they are chiefly prizes to be won, bereft of identity, the women of Odyssey are unique in their personality, intentions, and …show more content…
Some have argued that one of the principal motivation behind the Greeks' disparaging attitude towards their women stemmed from fear of female sexual power. In both The Odyssey and other myths, we hear of men imprisoned by their passions for nymphs. For instance, the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite (5) reports that Anchises frets after sleeping with Aphrodite "for no man retains his full strength who sleeps with an immortal goddess (Morford 140)." Greeks feared the mental side effects of sexual domination as much as the physical effects. The Odyssey's nymphs Calypso and Circe epitomize this fear of mental domination.

Though Odysseus longs for home, he finds it hard to move from the embrace of either of these two nymphs. His men have to force him off Aeaea, where he has been staying with the powerful Circe. Similarly, Homer describes Odysseus on Ogygia as "sitting, still, weeping, his eyes never dry, his sweet life flowing away with the tears he wept for his foiled journey home (Fagles 5:166)." This scene shows the Son of Laertes utterly miserable, yet unable to tear himself away from carnal delight. The very same man who dragged his men away from the land of the Lotus-Eaters seems to prove that women are his "drug of choice."

Circe and Calypso, through
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