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The Role of Women in Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days

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The role of women in Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days is outstandingly subordinate. There are a number of times in Hesiod's text that despises women, being mortal, immortal, or flesh-eating monsters. The overall impression of women from Theogony and Works and Days, leads one to believe that Hesiod is a misogynist.

The very creation of women was set as a punishment to man because Prometheus, son of Iapetos, tried to trick Zeus into eating bones and then, with the tube of a fennel, steals fire to give to mankind. Zeus then proclaimed, "To set against the fire I shall give them an affliction in which they will all delight as they embrace their own misfortune." Out of Zeus' anger came Pandora, the first woman. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mold women from the earth and water, Athene to dress and adorn her, Temptation to give her necklaces of gold, and Hermes to implant a bitch's mind and a thief's temper. Hesiod describes women as a "precipitous trap, more than mankind can manage." Hesiod states, "even so as a bane for mortal men has high-thundering Zeus created women, conspirators in causing difficulty." And thus the first woman was named Pandora, Allgift,-"a calamity for men who live by bread." And so Pandora and all the evils of the world, except Hope, were released into the world by a punishing Zeus. Hesiod explains how formerly the tribes of men lived "remote from ills, without harsh toil and the grievous sickness that are deadly to men." From Pandora descended the female sex, "a great affliction to mortals as they dwell with their husbands- no fit partners for accursed Poverty, but only for Plenty." An analogy is then used to compare women to drones who, according to Hesiod, feed off hard-working bees all day. Hesiod immed...

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...ystem and consequently formed a prejudice of women that would last for centuries.

Through Theogony and Works and Days, Hesiod expressed a hostility toward women that was endemic throughout Greek antiquity. His misogyny is best revealed through his story of Pandora, the creation of women. The very idea that women were created as an affliction for mankind proves that Hesiod looked down upon women with disdain. The depiction of Echidna as a beautiful woman and terrible beast represents his vision of the female race. His compassion for anti-feminist ethics and absolute distrust of women is present in both his books. His misogynistic random sucker-punches at the opposite sex were common belief in ancient Greece. "He who believes a woman, believes cheaters." His teachings of women were common belief in ancient Greece and his prejudices were completely misogynistic.

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