Jocasta And Antigone

707 Words3 Pages
In Ancient Greek society men had total control over women. Women were the property of their father until they were traded for marriage, at which point they would become the property of their husbands. In order to justify this system, men perpetuated the idea that women were weak and emotional, unable to fend for themselves; they needed a man to control them. However, women were also expected to be strong supports for their men. They would stand up for their husband in his absence, help solve his problems, provide emotional support and watch over his home. This duality defines the characters of Jocasta, Antigone and Penelope. Jocasta and Penelope, as wives, are expected to calmly support their men and act obediently. In Oedipus Rex, Jocasta mediates a quarrel between her husband and brother: “Unhappy men, what was it made you raise this senseless broil of words?” (Oedipus Rex 23). Here duty is to prevent disagreements within her family, because unlike men, women are less prone to argument and violence. Jocasta keeps her household together by cooling tempers; Penelope upkeeps her house by following the orders of her son. When Penelope loses her composure in front of Telemachus he chides her: “So, mother go back to your quarters. Tend to your own tasks, the distaff and the loom” (Homer 1.409-10), she submits to her son and his better judgment as a man: “she took to heart the clear sense in what her son had said”(Homer 1.416-17). Penelope is expected to follow the orders of
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