The Odyssey: The Roles Of Women In Society

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The role of women in society is an issue discussed throughout The Odyssey by Homer, the Bible, and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft. These texts all illustrate different roles for women in society; however, there are some common ideas between the texts. Since these texts were written at different time periods, The Odyssey first, then the Bible, and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman last, a contributing factor to the differences in the views on the role of women in society is the societal norms held at the time. The Odyssey and the Bible agree with the norms of the time while Wollstonecraft wrote against the gender norms held by society at that time. The differences between the texts portrayal of women are emphasized by the duties women have in the household, the expectations of women in marriage, and the positions …show more content…
To begin, the role of women in the household differs between the texts, but there are some similarities. First, women in The Odyssey are supposed to manage the household. For example, women are responsible for serving meals and the management of the serving staff. One example from the text where women are given the duty of serving meals is when Telemachos is preparing to leave Menelaos ' house: "immediately he [Menelaos] told his wife and all the maidservants / to prepare a dinner out of what was there in abundance" (Homer 227). It is evident from the text that it is only women who are preparing and serving the meal since it says maidservants instead of a gender-neutral term for the serving staff. Because of this differentiation, it can be inferred that male servants were given different tasks in the household compared to their female counterparts. Non-servant women in The Odyssey are responsible for overseeing the serving staff. For instance, Telemachos tells his mother, Penelope, "Go therefore back in the house, and take up

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