Agency is a term describing one's ability to reason and to act freely. Back in the time of the Trojan War, women were not considered to possess full agency as Aristotle once illustrated in his Politics “The deliberative part of the soul is entirely missing from a slave, a woman has it but it lacks authority.” In Book 3 of the Iliad, Homer illustrated the enticement of Aphrodite luring Helen to the bed of Paris and Helen’s corresponding resistance. From Helen’s dispute with Aphrodite, we can see that women in the Homeric world attempted to achieve agency through defying their fate of being materialized as mere sex partners, but eventually all the attempts were conquered under the mental compulsion from gods.
In the first section of Odyssey, mortal women are presented to us as controlled by the stereotypes and expectations of the culture of the day, and it is only within that context that we can consider the examples Homer provides of women to be admired or despised. He provides us with clear contrasts, between Penelope and Eurycleia on the one hand, and Helen and Clytemnaestra on the other.
Misogyny pervades the picture Aeschylus, Aristophanes, and Sophocles paint of Athenian society. In their literature, however, female characters catalyze plot by challenging this picture. Such characters--from Sophocles’ Antigone to Aristophanes’ Lysistrata--face grim consequences for acting independently. Clytemnestra and Cassandra from Aeschylus’s Agamemnon exemplify this archetype of autonomy and destruction. When they confront injustice, male characters perceive them as vindictive and hysterical. This paper will compare the standards of justice Aeschylus’s society imposes on men and women. I will argue that Clytemnestra and Cassandra are protectors of divine justice who reject subservience and thereby transcend the sexism of their society.
Gender inequality has been a controversial topic for numerous religions and cultures throughout history. Women were commonly regarded as the subservient gender, an idea that was no different in Ancient Greece. Throughout Greek mythology, women were considered inferior and troublesome symbols, while men were known for courage, leadership, and strength. While there is no argument of the flagrant sexism that is illustrated in Greek mythology, it can also be claimed that women were given a situated position of freedom, necessity, and power as well. Many popular Greek plays and myths contain several complexes and well described female characters. These goddesses themselves, partook the role of victim, heroine, and villain as it illustrated the diversity of characters in which women were portrayed and seen in both Ancient Greek society and mythology, allowing us to question “Were the women of Ancient Greek mythology equally represented as free and superior?” The creation of the Greek mythological universe, the creation of multi-gendered goddesses or deities, and the free and superior personalities accredited to women in Ancient Greek mythology to answer the question that women were fairly represented as powerful in Ancient Greek mythology.
In essence, society’s notion of female inferiority is reflected through the misogynistic views and actions towards women, as shown in the Greek society The Odyssey. These views, such as expectations of chastity towards women, continue on today. By recognizing sexist actions in literature, similar current actions can be acknowledged and
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?"
The Iliad and Odyssey present different ideals of women, and the goddesses, who are presented as ideal women, differ between the two epics. The difference in roles is largely dependent on power, and relations to men, as well as sexual desirability and activity.
The role of women in Greek literature has demoralized them and showing them in a maligned light. The women are portrayed as frail, cruel, insensitive, or as seductresses. These characteristics have been integrated into today’s society and [have] built the standards and defined the moral outlook of women. However, in Greek mythology, powerful and strong women are not as well celebrated, such as Athena. Homer’s The Odyssey construes the positive and negative role of women through the epic poem. The women in the poem are depicted through the contrasting actions of Penelope and the maids, in addition with the opposite personalities between the goddess Athena and the nymph Calypso.
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,
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 stories that as a whole make up the body of ancient Greek mythology have treatedthe complex subject of women in various ways. Although women are generally considered to beweak and subordinate to their husbands, there exist some examples of strong, even heroic womenin certain myths. Such “extraordinary” women include Deianeira, Phaedra, Medea, Penelope,and Clytemnestra, among others. This discussion of women will focus on the latter two,comparing and contrasting them and addressing the ways in which the former is often considereda “good” wife and the latter a “bad” wife. The comparison of Penelope and Clytemnestra willultimately show that, in certain ways, the line between “good” and “bad” wife is rather blurryand the distinction between husband-killing monster and devoted, faithful wife is not as clear-cutas one might expect.The major works in which Penelope and Clytemnestra appear are Homer’s Odyssey andAeschylus’ Oresteia, particularly the Agamemnon. One of the first things to notice about theseworks is that they were both written by men, for men. Given the ancient Greek context, this is arather obvious observation, but it deserves to be pointed out because it should be expected thatmen would have a biased view of women. Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days describe thecreation of Pandora, the first of “the race of women”, as a gift and punishment from the gods.While she is made to “look like a goddess immortal, / having the lovely, desirable shape of a
In comparison, of Terence’s Andria (The Girl from Andros) and Ovid’s Metamorphosis (Transformations), the audience can understand two distinct roles of women from these authors’ works. Additionally, the audience can also come to see a general role of women in Roman literature. The role of women within these works show slight changes in plays and poetry to represent stronger female characters and developing their own voice.
Homer’s Iliad is undoubtedly focused on its male characters: Achilles, primarily, but also Hector and Agamemnon. Nevertheless, it seems that the most crucial characters in the epic are female. Homer uses the characters of Thetis, Andromache, and Helen as a basis for comparison to the male characters. Homer wants his audience to see and understand the folly of his male characters in choosing war over peace, aggression over kindness, and honor over family. While the behavior of these characters clearly speaks for itself, the contrasting attitudes and behaviors of the female characters proffer an alternative; in comparison, the reader can hardly fail to concur with Homer’s message that war, aggression,
Women have always been recognized for their strong influence on the actions of men. Because of his love for Delia, Samson told his secret of his power and ended up losing it. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth urged Macbeth to commit murder. More recently, Eleanor Roosevelt strongly influenced the decisions that Franklin D. Roosevelt made. Women of Homer's epic, The Iliad, were considered primary instigators of the Trojan war. The characteristics attributed to women in ancient Greek mythology may have been key to the outbreak of the war. But many ask why Homer would choose to reflect so deeply on the feminine roles of this war fought by men.
Throughout The Iliad many women figures were written in the text to explain their roles. The women could have been seen as a non important figure. The women such as Helen, Briseis, Andromache, Athena, and many more, are picked up throughout the story helping the men and starting the battles between them. Men were mostly the main characters in the stories, but the women portray it with them helping men, the ones’ who started the battles between one another, and how women were different in other epics.