Women In Ancient Greece Had Very Few Rights In Comparison

1554 WordsMay 6, 20177 Pages
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,…show more content…
I’ll never brace those men alone. I’d be too embarrassed” (18.207-210). Penelope remains faithful to her husband, even when his existence is doubted. She upholds the sanctity of marriage. She is ashamed to meet with her suitors and entertain the idea of selecting a new partner. Penelope wholeheartedly respects her marriage vows and her duty as woman and wife. Her loyalty is demonstrated further when she wishes death upon herself in order to escape her suffering: “Now if only blessed Artemis sent me a death as gentle, now, this instant – no more wasting away my life, my heart broken in longing for my husband” (18.229-232). Even after twenty years of suffering, Penelope continues to long for her lost husband. She would rather endure death than disrespect her marriage bed. Her unwavering love for and devotion to her husband represent the ideal wife. Penelope serves as the archetype for the “good” woman. While Penelope remains subservient in her domestic role as wife, she is also referred to as complementary to her husband, who is known for his intelligence and cunning. Penelope can be viewed as his intellectual equal when she deceives her suitors for three years by weaving and unweaving Lord Laertes’ shroud each day: “This was her latest masterpiece of guile: she set up a great loom in the royal halls and she began to weave, and the weaving fine-spun, the yarns endless, and she would lead us on: ‘Young men, my suitors, now that
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