Essay On The Role Of Women In The Odyssey

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Women of the Odyssey Throughout the Odyssey women are viewed in a myriad of ways; however, a common thread is woven into the epic. Women are seen as subordinate to men. Goddesses obey the gods, and mortal women kneel before their male counterparts. Suffering places itself upon women who disobey men. Females who allow men to control them are regarded with higher esteem than those who transgress the beliefs of men. At a glance it may appear that women are inferior to men; however, with deeper analysis it becomes evident that the women in the Odyssey wield subtle powers that are often overlooked. Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, is overwhelmed by suitors for most of the poem, but she proves her craftiness by keeping a possible marriage at bay. …show more content…
During the beginning of the poem he loses hope that his father will ever return from war to save his family from the diabolical suitors. Athena disguises herself as Mentes, a seafarer, in order to aid Telemachus (I ln.170-95). After talking to Athena, Telemachus gains knowledge of how to search for his father as well as confidence. When Penelope begins to mope around and commands the singer to change his song Telemachus chastises his mother. He commands her to “go back upstairs” to take care of her work (I ln.355-77). Before Telemachus speaks with Athena he never addresses his mother with a disapproving tone. This is proven by her “stunned” reaction when her son commands her to proceed to her room (I ln.380). Athena further demonstrates her power when she grants Telemachus the audacity to confront the suitors. Telemachus confronts the suitors after talking to Athena; he calls the suitors “arrogant pigs,” and he commands them to leave (I ln.387-401). Previous to his conversation with Athena, Telemachus would never stand against the suitors because they could overpower him. However, after Athena manipulates Telemachus’s emotions he is able to confront the suitors about their misuse of Odysseus’s home. Athena can not only manipulate men, but Odysseus depends on her for …show more content…
She disguises herself as a friend of Nausicaa, and Athena suggests that she wash her clothes in the river (VI ln.25-40). Odysseus needs aid to reach home because his crew is dead, and he is naked. Athena sends Nausicaa to Odysseus because Athena knows that Nausicaa will help Odysseus. Nausciaa helps Odysseus by taking him to her father, Alcinous, who generously returns him to Ithaca (XIII ln.115-21). Nausicaa would never meet Odysseus without the aid of Athena, and Odysseus would not receive help from Alcinous without Nausicaa. Therefore, Athena plays a necessary catalyst in a series of events which would fail to occur without her. Odysseus may never return home without her assistance. Athena’s strength, influence, and wisdom equal any man’s power. Not only are female main characters strong and wise, but there are women who play minor characters in the poem who possess intellect as

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