Women In The Poetry Of Sappho

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Throughout history, a handful of women have emerged that do not follow the rules of the patriarchy. However, many of these women disguised themselves as men in order to accomplish what they wanted. One example of this is the Greek poet, Sappho. Sappho lived during the Archaic period on the island of Lesbos. During these times women possessed small amounts of freedom. Women were not educated, so for Sappho to possess the ability to not only read, but write, her own poems, is rare. In ancient Greece, homosexual relationships between men were fairly common, especially among the upper class. These relationships guaranteed a portion of power from the older man to the younger boy. For women, homosexual relationships were less common and would not …show more content…
Another example of women who defied female expectations are the Brontë sisters. Living in 19th century England, each sister found fame for their literature, but under male pseudonyms. The Brontë sisters were the first English writers to break female literary stereotypes and write women as their own individuals, who possessed a sense of morality and responsibility. For these women to find fame at this time, even under male pseudonyms, is extraordinary. These women used their voices to spread their ideas into the world. While Sappho and the Brontë sisters used their words to change the world, other women emerged as fearless fighters. One such woman was Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc lead the French army against the British during the Hundred Years War, despite it being known that she was a female. On May 23, 1430, the Burgundians captured her and little was done by the French higher ups to save her. The English, especially frustrated by the fact that a woman was able to defeat their army, did everything they could to condemn Joan of Arc, no matter the reason. While in captivity, Joan was treated harshly, with her captures even referring to her as a hommasse meaning “man-woman” or …show more content…
A few hundred years later, during the rampant piracy that plagued the seas, two women stand out against the odds: Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Both Anne Bonny and Mary Read, left behind their lives to sail the seas as male pirates. Anne Bonny was an illegitimate child and lived her life on a plantation in South Carolina. To the frustration of her parents, Bonny was a rebellious child who enjoyed cross-dressing. After being disowned, Bonny and her husband traveled to Providence island where Bonny left her husband and joined the crew of “Calico” Jack Rackam. Mary Read was also born illegitimate but was raised as a boy in an attempt to cover up the scandal of the situation. Read eventually joined the army where she fell in love with a fellow soldier and married him. After his premature death, Read sailed for the West Indies where her ship was captured by pirates. Both women grew up in different ways than the customary practice of the time. Their childhoods clearly lead them both to their famed piracy and outwardly freedom of expression. However, due to their sexes, they have been glorified in literature and history. For example, in John Gay’s sequel to The Begger’s Opera, Mary Read and Anne Bonny are glorified versions of male fantasies between women and piracy. These women are taken from their original contexts and warped into the female archetype. They are seen merely as women whose goals are

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