For this informative report I will attempt to point out the roles women and how they are viewed in ancient Greece. I will then show how these views are present in Homer’s "The Odyssey." How are women, goddess or mortal, conveyed in "The Odyssey?"
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,
Greek and Roman women lived in a world where strict gender roles were given; where each person was judged in terms of compliance with gender-specific standards of conduct. Generally, men were placed above women in terms of independence, control and overall freedom. Whereas men lived in the world at large, active in public life and free to come and go as they willed, women's lives were sheltered. Most women were assigned the role of a homemaker, where they were anticipated to be good wives and mothers, but not much of anything else. The roles of women are thoroughly discussed in readings such as The Aeneid, Iliad, Sappho poetry, and Semonides' essay.
The Odyssey by Homer is one of the two major Ancient Greek epic poems. This epic poem was mainly about Odysseus and his journey home to his family and loved ones in Ithaca. In "The Odyssey," Homer demonstrates the dominant roles played by men, while women occupied a more submissive position to their husbands /masters. Greek society was organized and directed by men who played the most important roles. Of course, women were as valuable, but their roles were not as powerful as men. In fact, they would only participate in activities that were approved of men. Homer used these themes in "The Odyssey" to differentiate between the two genders. However, gender roles were depicted in the poem by one of the main characters' Penelope, in which she plays a very important role. She provides the motivation for her husband Odysseus's to return to Ithaca. She is also the center of the plot involving the suitors and the fate of Telemachus and Ithaca itself. The characterization of Penelope in the poem shows the expected role of women in Ancient Greece. Even in the household that she is supposed to be in charge, she lacks power. Her values are shown in her faithfulness to her husband even though he been gone for 20 years, and in the end, she is seen as a prize to be won. Even though women were considered valuable, they were not given important roles or any decision making power.
The role of women in ancient Greek life was insignificant compared to that of Greek men. A woman's job was to take care of the children and to cook and clean unless she had servants or slaves that would do it for her. Yet, in Greek mythology, women were often written as major characters. Well-known Greek plays contain many well-written, complex, female characters. Female individuals in Greek mythology were often seen as very powerful and fierce and were depicted by “her wits, her beauty, or her bad deeds.”
The Greco-Roman society was a very patriarchal society. This is reflected throughout the myths in classical mythology. By looking at the classic mythology we will see that the roles women portrayed are very different than 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 attributes of Greco-Roman female gods and looking at the roles women play in the myths. By comparing the roles of women in the myths with women’s roles today we will see that the roles have many differences and few similarities.
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
Throughout ancient human history, men and women held vastly different roles. Women were often given the duty of bearing and raising children, whereas men were expected to fight, provide an income, and protect the household. Women were seen as totally inferior to men and described by Euripedes as “a curse to mankind” and “a plague worse than fire or any viper.” However, this misogynistic view of women and designated role of inferiority was not apparent in every ancient civilization. The role of the female in ancient Greek history can best be explored and contrasted between two important civilizations: The Spartans and the Athenians. The Spartan women were incredibly advanced for their time, and the Athenian women were drastically far behind. Both the Spartan and Athenian women held roles at home and lived lives far removed from the men of their societies. However, their lives were much different. While the Spartan women were strong and educated, the Athenian women held a status almost equal to slavery. The Spartan women were far more advanced than Athenians in aspects of life including education, athleticism, and independence.
Gender and its roles are exposed in the story of Antigone as the central themes. Roles and rules are set and followed by several people in this era, this is appreciated in this text. Ideas of contradiction to these rules were not explored. In Greek mythology, several women held positions of power, but none of these women were human, making the idea of a powerful woman godlike and unattainable, as if to keep woman in their place, which of course, was always under the rule of the superior gender, the male. To challenge a patriarchy with feminism was dangerous, for both sexes were equally protective of it, leaving the challenger desolate in the battle against it. To rely on women to help other women rebel against this social norm was not probable, in the contrary, women held each other accountable for complying to these rules and punished those who didn’t. Women were their gender’s prevalent critics and suppressors, not only because they feared the repercussions, but since they didn’t have the means to rebel against it.
Women: A.K.A. Powerful Manipulators Thesis: Men seemingly have more power in The Odyssey, but Homer portrays the women as manipulators and influencers, which allows them to gain control and power. In The Odyssey, Penelope is able to manipulate men using her sexuality, symbolizing that women have the true power and control in society. With many suitors at home, Penelope chooses to seduce them only to lead them on, “For three years now, getting on to four,/ she’s played it fast and loose with all our hearts,/ building each man’s hopes–/ dangling promises, dropping hints to each–/ but all the while with something else in mind” (Homer 2.96-100).
In ancient Greece the females were considered to be conniving and deceiving whisperers, and men almost never trusted their wives. The ideal woman was an obedient and placating wife. They believed that the female should be strong but still yield to the power of the male in charge, whether it was older brother, father, or husband. Euripides often used females in uncommon ways; he did not simply show them as complacent animals. Women in Euripides' plays were used for social commentary. They were not just simple characters; they could be both agathos and kakos. The females in the works of Euripides were extremely strong and devious and they were loyal but at the same time
What do we learn about male and female roles in Greek society from the Odyssey? In the ancient time setting women were subservient and submissive to men; their lives were restricted to childbearing and household duties.
Women’s role in Greece can be seen when one first begins to do research on the subject. The subject of women in Greece is coupled with the subject of slaves. This is the earliest classification of women in Greek society. Although women were treated differently from city to city the basic premise of that treatment never changed. Women were only useful for establishing a bloodline that could carry on the family name and give the proper last rites to the husband. However, women did form life long bonds with their husbands and found love in arranged marriages. Women in Athenian Society Women are “defined as near slaves, or as perpetual minors” in Athenian society (The Greek World, pg. 200). For women life didn’t
TheA fantastic example of the loyal wife archetype and the loyalty they hold to their husbands, also known as is Penelope in Homer’s, The Odyssey. Penelope’s husband, Odysseus has been at war for the past twenty years and is presumably dead. During this time, Penelope and her son Telemachus end up living amongst numerous suitors who attempt to court Penelope. However she continues to mourn the “loss” her husband and vows to never remarry or entertain the suitors out of loyalty to Odysseus. She does this by beginning a large piece of needlework that must be finished before she entertains the suitors. Although at night, she undoes her work, in order to allot more time. This abounding loyalty to spouse can also be seen in Kate, within Kate and
In ancient literature, interactions between women are rare, but when they do occur they help develop the state of a woman, both mentally and emotionally. In studying several examples from ancient texts such as Hippolytus, Troilus and Criseyde, and The City of Ladies, it is evident that positive interactions between women act as a strengthening factor for female characters. Conversely, when a woman shuns her peers and relies on herself or only the men in her life, she becomes weak and isolated.