The Changing Role Of Women In Homer's Odyssey

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The women in the Odyssey play a pivotal role in Odysseus’s journey back home from Troy after the war. His journey was made complicated right from the start when Ajax, a Greek warrior raped King Priam’s daughter Cassandra which enraged the goddess Athena, and she was mainly responsible for Odysseus’s late homecoming. Throughout the Odyssey, Odysseus comes across women during his journey who appear in the form of temptresses or seek to destroy him.

Athena plays a lead controlling role in the Odyssey. She was furious with Odysseus at first due to what happened to Cassandra in Troy but after seven years she decided to help him get back to his home, Ithaca. She starts of by meeting his son Telemachus disguised as a family friend Mentor and guides
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Odysseus resided on Calypso’s island for seven years. Calypso was a nymph and resided on that island alone. When Odysseus reached her island after a ship wreck, Calypso seduced him and provided him with everything he needed. When Odysseus was narrating this story to the Phaecians, he changed it slightly to make it seem that he was more of a prisoner there, whereas he enjoyed most of his time there. Homer in the poem said:
“His life draining away in
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She is depicted as a powerful, and a mentally strong woman and Odysseus’ journey back home is centered on his love for her. Odysseus was gone for war, but he did not make it back, so he was presumed dead and many suitors desired to replace him. However, Penelope was faithful to Odysseus and believed that her husband was alive and would return one day. She is able to fight the temptation of the suitors and trick them by telling them that she will marry when she would complete the burial shroud for her father-in-law, Laertes. Every night she would undo the weaving thus delaying her marriage. This shows that she was cunning in similar fashion as her husband, Odysseus. Another example of her intelligent nature is seen when she holds the contest of the bow and axes. She already suspected that the old beggar is Odysseus in disguise, and asked all the suitors to string the great bow of Odysseus and shoot an arrow through dozen axes. She knew that only Odysseus had the skills to do this. This shows that their love was very strong and their intimacy allowed her to know the things about Odysseus that others did not

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