The Cruel Treatment Of Women In Homer's Odyssey

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Throughout history, there have been groups of people who were discriminated against and subject to cruel treatment. When the Europeans came to the “New World,” they considered the Native Americans brutes. Similarly, white southern Americans during the 1800s treated their African American slaves as if they were animals. The people who were discriminated fought for their rights, and eventually got their rights. However, women have always been treated worse than males. This can be clearly seen in Ancient Greece, as well as ancient Greek texts. In the Greek epic The Odyssey, Homer narrates the journey of the epic hero, Odysseus. Odysseus encounters many foreign groups during his trip back to his home, Ithaca. The idea of gender construction can …show more content…
Men were able to harass a woman, even if the woman wanted the men to go away. During Odysseus’ time away from home, “numerous suitors...have been continually seeking the hand of his wife, Penelope, in marriage, while overrunning Odysseus’ palace and enjoying themselves at Penelope’s expense” (Homer 23). Evidently, the suitors harass Penelope because they feel that she is inferior to them. The suitors have more authority over her only because they are males, rather than because they are more skilled or wealthy. Penelope could not do much to stop the men, not just because there were too many men, but also because they were of higher “status” than her. Although the suitors were very ignorant towards Penelope, even Odysseus, the hero of the epic, believed that he could view women as “lower” individuals. In the exposition of The Odyssey, for example, Odysseus boasts, “Plunder [Odysseus and his crew] took, and [they] enslaved the women, to make division, equal shares to all…” (Homer 3), implying he is proud of enslaving the women. He has no regard for the women, partially because they are foreigners, but also because they are women. Odysseus, who believes in the ideas of hospitality and treating others equally, does not treat the foreign women the same as his crew and any other man. Both Odysseus and the suitors mistreat women as if they are disposable toys, …show more content…
Circe and the Sirens attempted to harm Odysseus and his crew and tried to prevent them from going home. That idea of women not allowing men to go home can be translated from the Greek monsters to the women in the Greek society. The suitors and Odysseus’ men treat women unfairly by either harassing or enslaving women. Their justification is that the women who they are treating unfairly are “lowly.” The suitors are quite violent and decide to fight Odysseus instead of bargaining. Similarly, instead of praying to the gods, Odysseus decides to hurt the Cyclops, showing how men (like the suitors and Odysseus) turn to violent solutions. All in all, although women were oppressed, many people today have realized that the unfair treatment towards other humans is inhumane. They are people just like us and have to go through just as pain, if not more, as any other person. This realization has lead to changes in societies that help a woman achieve an equal life as a

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