The Cruel Treatment Of Women In Homer's Odyssey

Improved Essays
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

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    These same ideas are supported by Homer in the Odyssey. He also believes that women are nuisances to society and are only useful if they are in some way benefiting a man. Most of the women in the Odyssey are painted as either manipulative, untruthful, or unfaithful. By the end of his journey, Odysseus is under the impression that he should not even trust his wife Penelope even though she is the epitome of a perfect woman. The overall theme conveyed by Homer is that women are more trouble than they are worth, which is demonstrated continuously throughout the…

    • 984 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Depictions of women in stories are altered because of their association with men. For example, illustrates Circe as evil due to her hatred of men and actions. Calypso is illustrated as selfish and seductive due to her and Odysseus’ hearts disagreeing. Finally, the suitors deem Penelope as sly by the suitors because of her undying loyalty to Odysseus. In the patriarchal society, The Odyssey is told in, women are categorized as simple, one-dimensional characters whilst men are the complicated ones.…

    • 708 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A double standard is revealed through this encounter. Just across the channel, there was Charybdis, “her horrible whirlpool gulping the sea-surge down, down.” Her creative methods of murder were also mentioned in the story, but she was unfairly demonized. Poor Charybdis was simply trying to help her father, Poseidon, when he and Zeus had a sibling squall. However, Zeus was not pleased and ended up torturing her by transforming her into a monster. Had it not been for the brothers’ rash actions, then Charybdis would have remained a normal maiden.…

    • 1045 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Themales in the play, while they are viewed as very powerful and good listeners, they will not accept their fate told by women, because they are seen as inferior. This is shown when Caesar will not accept when Calpurnia warned him about his death and/or murder. Calpurnia and Portia are both able to see what the dangers are ahead, but because male characters view women as unneeded and are undermined they disregarde their comments. Calpurnia has a dream of seeing Caesar's statue gush with blood, and the Romans rubbing their hands in his blood with a joyous look on their faces. Decius (Caesars Messenger) disbelieves her dream, but Calpurnia understands that her dream is the truth and something bad will come to Caesar.…

    • 727 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Brabantio knew that denying Rodrigo a chance with Desdemona would cause him pain. Brabantio’s sadistic behavior is a universal truth about mankind. Men hurt men for reasons they believe are noble, but typically they are not noble causes. Shakespeare informs readers that people create acts of cruelty for a supposed noble cause. Rodrigo has a crush on a young lady, but he was not given a chance with Desdemona simply because she was a member of the upper class.…

    • 915 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Negative stereotypes about anything always drive people away from a subject; I will be discussing the truth behind the lies about feminists and explaining just how ridiculous the stereotypes are. Drawing upon Valenti’s (2013) theory of how stereotypes come to be and how they are used, I will be elaborating on why these negative views about feminism exist, especially the view that all feminists are ugly. The attitudes regarding feminism will be addressed using hooks’ (2013) analysis of why many men fear feminism and change. Finally, I will explain why the stereotype that all feminists hate men is incredibly untrue and the inclusion the movement actually offers men, best outlined by Tarrant (2013). These types of untrue stereotypes make feminism…

    • 1147 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    After examining the theme of misogyny in The Handmaid’s Tale and “Sweat” draws the attention of the reader that the Commander shows how inconsiderate a person can be when they aren’t being treated unfairly base on gender. He has purposely helped create a society that was against women’s rights and felt no shame when he took advantage of their vulnerability in Gilead. The Commander has no sympathy towards them, since he made them all subjugated to be seen as a sex object instead of human…

    • 1730 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Chivalry Is Dead Essay

    • 1538 Words
    • 6 Pages

    A girl could make her man do anything just by holding something over him, but when a girl is willing to give that up by demanding equality, she becomes less powerful. The feminist movement is thought of to make women more powerful and independent, but the reality of it is, it is pushing men away from woman and causing chivalry to also go away. The blame of chivalry slowly going away rests on both genders equally. No matter what people say, woman and men both killed chivalry together. Woman frequently say men are the reason for chivalry, and men frequently blame woman for chivalry.…

    • 1538 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Although, some saw women’s positions as mothers in Greece as being important, passing on legitimacy for family inheritance; nevertheless outside their homes, women had limited access to social activities within their cities. The poet Hesiod loathed women as a ‘snare’ for men, calling women a ’poisonous race’ and ‘a great plague.’ Aristophanes had men chant in one of his plays, “Women are a shameless set, the vilest creatures going.” Euripides from his book ‘Meda’ writes; “If only children could be got some other way without the female sex! If women didn’t exist, human life would be rid of all its miseries.” These two authors easily depict fanatical evaluations of women in ancient times. Arrogantly, the majority of men felt that women were only needed to manufacture children, and used as by man’s…

    • 1714 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    The literary device fails if women are not so beautiful that it fills the hero with such lust, that he makes bad decisions. The women of Lysistrata use that inherent power of the female body to make the men in their lives make good decisions. sex and their bodies to make the men stop fighting in an endless war. Though it is played up for comedy, Lysistrata, shows a unique viewpoint. Calonice and the other women don’t just want to have sex to please their husbands.…

    • 1548 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays