The Odyssey, by Homer Essay

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Homer’s Odyssey was written around 700 BC. During this time there was major social and economic change, which brought the development of new cities, as well as new laws to govern them. Political rights and citizenship in Greek society truly defined the roles of women in this time period. All of the laws governing the population of Greece were not only written by men, but also enforced by men. Homer’s Odyssey is the product of a society in which men played the dominant role. Women were held at a very low status compared to men. The most important role in which the women were viewed was domestic, as a part of the household, and primarily responsible for weaving cloth and preparing food. However, throughout Homer’s Odyssey there is …show more content…
In fact, her decision to remarry is to fulfill the instructions that Odysseus had left her that when their son, Telemachos reaches maturity, she will consider remarrying. In Book Eighteen, Penelope states, “Watch over my father and mother in the palace,/ just as now, or perhaps a little more,/ when I am far from home./ But once you see the beard on the boy’s cheek,/you wed the man you like, and leave your house behind” (18.269-273.) Penelope is being very strategic, which gives her the power to control her palace. It is this literal act of weaving that is keeping the peace in Penelope’s household. Penelope is refusing to conform to the pressures of society, which reinstates that she is not like every other woman of her time. These skills are what make Penelope a powerful woman in a patriarchal society, and not one who gives their fate to the men. Another significantly powerful woman in Homer’s Odyssey is Helen, the wife of Menelaus and the instigator of the Trojan War.

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