Essay on Role of Women in Homer's Odyssey

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The Role of Women in Homer's Odyssey

"Homer's Odyssey is the product of a society in which men played the dominant role"(Pomeroy 22). Throughout history, women have retained a submissive role in society. For the longest time, society itself was organized and directed by men, and all of the most important enterprises were those that men implemented. Women participated in the affairs of the world only when they had the permission of the men who directed their lives.

The literature of a of masculine society, of which Homer's Odyssey is an excellent example, aptly illustrates these social conventions. "The themes of Odyssey are of interest to men; warfare, hunting, the problems of the warrior and ruler, and so forth.
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Finally, there is Athene, the goddess, who more than any other of these women, has the intelligence, sophistication, and independence that the modern world expects of a woman.

The influential feminine strain in the Odyssey also has important effects upon the whole flavor of the poem. Many other early epics are characterized by coldness, morbidity, and brutality, caused by the subjects with which they deal. The virtues, such as courage and martial prowess, which are seen in the Iliad are impressive, but they are undistinguished and limited, for they exist in a world of mas-culine competition and warfare. It is only in the Odyssey, among early Greek works, that such familiar ideas as love, family loyalty, and devotion, and other such important ethical attitudes, are both illustrated and advocated. It is the presence of these unconscious moral lessons that makes the Odyssey so unique in its genre and produces its humanitarian and optimistic outlook.

The nature of the events described in the Odyssey and the character of Odysseus necessitated that many women had to be present in its verses. Beyond this, however, the poet had a rather free hand in choosing how to deal with them. The women of the Odyssey could have been treated as casually and cavalierly

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