Women, Sisters, And Wives : Women

1485 Words Oct 15th, 2016 6 Pages
Princesses, Sisters, and Wives: Women Portrayed in Ancient Greece
It is convenient to pride modernity for all the progression it has made since ancient times, particularly when it comes to gender equality. In Homer’s The Odyssey and Sophocles’ Antigone, the ancient societal view of women is blatant in the text whether it is in Creon’s sexist remarks or referring to the disloyal maids of Odysseus as “sluts, who lay with suitors” (Homer, XXII.516), but in these same works, this status quo is challenged by providing many examples of hospitable, strong willed, and dedicated women. In Antigone specifically, the plays overarching theme of righteousness standing up against powerful corruption is analogous to the gender specific struggle of having societal views of, in the case of the Ancient and Classical Greeks, inferiority enforced upon women. These works provide an ancient cultural outlook on women but challenges them through the characters, such as a xenia filled princess, an idealistic, fiery sister, and a faithful yet skeptical wife.
The cultural outlook upon women is very clear from both of these narratives. At the beginning of Antigone, Ismene reminds her sister, “We must remember we are women, / so not to fight with men.” (Sophocles, 61-62) This internalized hopelessness enflames Antigone’ frustration and connects to the larger ethos of truth that is defined by Plato: “True reality will be denied by the individuals who have not witnessed other realities, believing that the…
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