Sexual Equality In The Iliad And The Odyssey

1936 Words 8 Pages
In various ways, women have made significant progress toward sexual equality over the past several centuries. Nevertheless, a considerable gap remains between the rights given to men and women in modern American society. For the most part, American women can obtain a higher education and hold a powerful job; however, when dealing with politics, our ethics and morals surrounding “sexual equality” become unclear. Sadly, the majority of society continually places men high above women when it comes to looking toward a leader to execute decisions concerning the future of our country. Despite the thousands of years separating modern America from Ancient Greece, the essence of the treatment of women regarding politics has not advanced nearly as much …show more content…
Penelope in the Odyssey assumes a position of power while Odysseus is away from Ithaca fighting in the Trojan War. She defies the typical role of women by being in control. She is also extremely intelligent, and stands as a sign of hope for other women moving forward. Furthermore, Penelope stays loyal to Odysseus for the whole twenty years, while her husband has a passionate affair with Calypso (CITE). This detail again strengthens the idea that regarding women, men had little values regarding their treatment and they did not hold marriage in such a high sanctity that modern society does. Another instance of male brashness is witness in the relationship between Telemachus and Penelope. Once matured, her son speaks harshly toward his mother declaring that “I cannot fault your anger at all this. My heart takes note of everything, feels it too, both the good that the bad—the boy you knew is gone” (XVIII.255-258). The most painful of these words arrives at the end when her son proclaims that the child she raised is not the same anymore. This marks his transition from boyhood to manhood: a transition in which the male perception of female inferiority grows stronger. A mother loves her son, and in modern times there are family disputes; however, they are mostly out of spite for parents in general, not out of misogynistic …show more content…
With the progress that we have made in regards to morals and how we treat women, one would think that we would have made greater progress regarding what women can actually do with their rights. Women have the right to education and careers are more plentiful than the domestic work of previous times, yet an air of discrimination remains in many male dominated fields. Women can vote, so we do have a say to some extent, unlike women in Greek societies who received reprimands for voicing opinion or dissension. The issues discussed in The Iliad and The Odyssey stir up a lot of questions about the female presence in ancient Greece, and Homer does a good job of incorporating information about the time into his writing. The sets of morals and ethics presented in these poems allow for comparisons to the change in standards of political philosophy and how society views women. All the data about women in politics and the small advancements in sexual equality raise the question as to why our ethical standards have changed in some manners—regarding how we view women as equals—but the actual societal ethics have not changed significantly. Despite the changes that have occurred over the past several decades, American society sill does not abide by equal ethics when it comes to leadership and electing someone to make executive decisions for the entire

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