Women's Role In The Iliad And The Odyssey

1401 Words 6 Pages
In The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer has strikingly different opinions on the roles that women play in each epic. The differences are so striking that some readers have argued that a woman could have possibly created The Odyssey, modeled after Homer’s Iliad. In The Iliad we see women as war prizes and slaves, vulnerabilities to men, and in positions of limited power. In The Odyssey however, we see women capturing men and keeping them as prizes, rising from a status of limited power to dominating their household and breaking free of the constraints of the “typical” household woman stereotype. We even see making their own decisions and challenging their husbands. By comparing and contrasting these epic women we open ourselves to a greater understanding …show more content…
Compared to the women previously mentioned she has the most freedom but is still bound to obey her husband while he’s away in battle. When they meet at the bastion of Ilion, she begs her husband to put aside the duties of honor and stay with her. Hektor ultimately chooses to stand by his men and she accepts her husband’s wishes. Andromache plays the role of the dutiful wife and is praised by Homer. She does not ask questions or object when Hektor makes his final decision to go and fight. In The Odyssey we see a complete change of roles between the women and the …show more content…
Homer presents Penelope as Odysseus’s equivalent. Over the course of Odysseus’s long absence from Ithaka, she had to step up and take over for the entire household. When the suitors came she had to fend for herself while her son was still an infant. She devised the tapestry plan to buy herself time until she was ultimately foiled by a servant. When Odysseus comes back she seems to not notice. Or does she? I believe that Penelope did know that the disguised beggar was Odysseus. Especially when she tells Odysseus of her dream and sets the challenge for the suitors waiting to marry her. She knows that only Odysseus would see the meaning of her dream and that only he would be able to string the bow and shoot it.

In contrast to The Iliad, The Odyssey takes the role of women makes a complete turn around. In the Odyssey women are recognized as a force of power and resourcefulness. They are given their own voices and seem to dominate the men of the epic both physically and mentally. In The Iliad it almost seems as if Homer put the women’s roles on a backburner to focuses on the glory of the men. Now, Homer doesn’t make all women bad in one epic and then all good in another. He simply moves the positions of power that women are seen

Related Documents