Gender Roles Of Homeric Society In Homer's The Odyssey

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Register to read the introduction… Telemachos decides that she should not be present in the bow and arrow competition, that only men should be allowed to handle those types of events. He defines the fact that he is in charge of the belongings of the house and the house is yet under his power but not his and Penelope’s unified power. As he claims to be categorized with the men he wants to certainly play the role of one which would include demands and receiving obedience from a woman. The repetition of Telemachos’ statements, sending Penelope off to her bedroom shows him holding power. Penelope’s bedroom symbolically represents her emptiness and since there is nothing for her in the bedroom it shows that Telemachos is taking away her power as he holds his steady. Repetition as well shows how Telemachos is emphasizing the tasks that Penelope as a woman should be doing during certain cases and that he as the only male left of their family should be in possession of the household’s power. Another scene in book 23 shows that Telemachos is clearly angry with Penelope when she does not embrace Odysseus on his return. He uses offensive language such as “harsh mother”, “hard heart”, and “spirit as stubborn” (23.97-100) to address Penelope. This was an implication that she was not acting as a woman of Homeric society should be acting. In this scene, Penelope is …show more content…
Nausikaa’s instructions to her father, Alkinoos’ palace is very symbolic as to why the Homeric society has been complex. As Nausikka’s says to Odysseus, “Go on past him [the king] and then with your arms embrace our mother’s knees”(6.310). Odysseus expects to speak to the king, but Nausikaa implies that he would have to speak to the queen and make a good impression with her. This is a great turn of events as we have seen throughout Homer’s epic poem that women do not carry power in Homeric society. Now that we are dealing with the queen she is in more power to decide Odysseys’ homecoming than the king himself, who just sits beside her and drink his wine. Arete, the queen is defined by her great authority and ruling and has no problem associating herself with any men around her because they have given her honor as they clasp her knees. It might seem unpredictable that a woman could have high potency, but she is also explained to be given “such pride of place as no other woman on earth”(7.68) because of Alkinoos’ love for her. This shows that a woman of authority does not normally exist within the Homeric society, but we see that it has branched out and allowed a woman of important role to carry power. As apposed to Penelope in Ithaka, who would never hold such authority in her home full of suitors and who is spoken down to by her own son. Arete is looked up upon on by her

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