Women in the Illiad and the Odyssey

Good Essays
Sarah Kirkus
ENG 2423 8A

March 21, 2013

Roles of Women in The Iliad and The Odyssey Homer wrote two epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey. The Iliad is a tragedy that tells about the battles of the Trojan War. The Odyssey is somewhat of a sequel, the story of Odysseus 's travels home after the Trojan War. An article found in “The American Scholar” states, “ One might begin by asking what both epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, would be like if there were no women in them. The Trojan war would not have been fought, and Odysseus (assuming he had gone to Troy in the first place) would not have bothered to return home.” (Lefkowitz. 504) This statement alone illustrates the importance of the women portrayed in these two epics.
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Motherly housewives are presented all throughout both epic poems. The Greek society believed that all women should be submissive to their father and husband. Females were designed for childbearing and performing household chores. Andromache was a prime example of a perfect, devout wife and mother in The Iliad. She was the wife to Hector and mother to Astyanax. She stood beside him and showed her true care and concern for him by begging him to withdraw from the war. “ “She reminds him that, since Achilles has killed her father and brothers and her mother is dead too. “You are my father and mother and brother, and you are my young husband.”” (Lefkowitz. 507) She mourned greatly when he was killed. Penelope was the greatest example of a dedicated housewife and nurturing mother. She was the loving and devoted wife to Odysseus and the mother to Telemachus. She remained faithful to her husband for twenty years, not knowing if he was dead or alive and if he would ever return home. Penelope was required to raise her son alone, without a father. These years were difficult for Penelope. Even though her husband was sleeping with his seductress, Penelope used her inner strength and her own “seductive ways” to not succumb to the suitors. This alone proved her loyalty to her husband. She often wept and mourned over her lost
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