The Role of Women in Ancient Greece as Depicted in Homer’s The Odyssey

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The Role of Women in Ancient Greece as Depicted in Homer’s The Odyssey

Women as Citizens

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 Odyssey" was written around 700 BC during the Archaic period (750 – 550 BC). This was a time of great economical and social change in Greek history due to massive migration that led to the development of new city-states (called the polis) as well as laws to govern them. Citizenship and political rights give a good indication of women’s roles in Greek society. In Homer’s time citizens were
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"Upon marriage, woman became the legal wards of their husbands, as they previously had been of their fathers while still unmarried" (Martin, 68). It was common for a father to sell his young daughter into marriage and the young women had no say in her preference of her suitors (Mahaffy, 48). This was done while the girl was in her young teens while the groom was ten to fifteen years older (Martin, WEB2). As the father, or guardian, gave the young girl away he would repeat the phrase that expressed the primary aim of marriage: "I give you this women for the plowing [procreation] of legitimate children" (Martin, WEB2). The woman’s role was primarily in the home. "Households thus depended on women, whose wok permitted the family to economically self-reliant and the male citizens to participate in the public life of the polis" (Martin, WEB2). Women in The Odyssey

In the poem written by Homer, "The Odyssey", there is evidence of these views as pointed out by Sue Blundell. In her book, Women in Ancient Greece, she gives many examples but I would like to just touch on a few. Sue suggests many of the monsters encountered in The Odyssey are unmistakably female. Woman are to be seen as having a sexual power to engulf and obliterate men if they become to closely involved with them (Blundell, 51). This might explain why women are kept in check in Greek society and why men are not to be blamed for their
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