The changing role of women in literature from the late 8th century B.C. to the 21 century A.D. is evident that women have become more or less respectful in later works. This is portrayed in the Odyssey, Sakuntala and Good Country People.
The soldiers of Greece force these newly widowed wives to be their concubines or slaves, treating the women as if they are a symbol of victory. A soldier riding to Helen’s pen where she is imprisoned can be heard saying “we need her for the victory parade!” These barbaric soldiers have drawn lots to decide which Trojan woman that they will take as their own. This is yet another vile cost of war, treating women as slaves and parading them in show of their victorious efforts in battle. This practice belittles the Trojan women, viewing them as objects for the Greeks to do with as they please. The Trojan women have lost their freedom, such freedom that their husbands and sons gave their lives to
In order to understand the “center” of the Iliad, one must first recognize that the Iliad started as a “Lyrical,” or oral poem and was written down much later in history, becoming a “Narrative,” or literate poem. The Iliad began as a poem that was strictly part of an oral culture, its transition into a written work for a literate culture brought complexities and complications that are often overlooked when examining this poem on its surface. Walter J. Ong explained this phenomenon best when he described the psychodynamics of an oral society. His explanations concerning these particular societies’ psychologies and social dynamics are often times lost on the Iliad’s modern-day reader. Therefore, when reading a piece of literature, one must first take into account how the text has arrived to him through the passage of time and history. So, before we are to examine the modern critics’ interpretations and analyses of Homer’s Iliad, we must first look to Ong’s claims concerning oral societies.
Despite their differing value sets, the Homeric and chivalric ideals of heroism are both similarly dependent on definitive perspectives of valuation, action, and selfhood. This is why the lens of heroism is the most effective lens through which to analyse Troilus and Cressida as a textual and thematic palimpsest. Most obviously, the conflicting versions of heroism have contradicting ideals. As Bruce Smith observes, “A man cannot be the chivalrous knight and the saucy jack or the Herculean hero and the merchant prince at the same time – or at least he cannot comfortably be so.” The Troy legend produced in medieval and Renaissance collective consciousness an originary basis for literary tropes and heroic moulds. Characters such as Achilles, Ajax, and Hector become synonymous with various brands of masculinity and heroism, and the titular characters of Troilus and Cressida have cultural resonance as archetypal lovers, a concept which is moralized and gendered, who are either true or false in their vows to one another. The play engages with the audience’s collective memory, refiguring the well-known myths so that they are self-referential and distorted. Troilus and Cressida is the Trojan War inverted, the character or Achilles, or Helen, seen as if reflected in a funhouse mirror. They are at once themselves, and (potentially poor) imitations of themselves (a point which is stressed in Ulysses’ criticism of Patroclus in Act 1, Scene 3). Edward L. Hart asserts that the play is a dramatic question, posed by Shakespeare to himself: “What would happen if one should write a play in which all values are reversed, a play in which the mirror held up to life reflects not a positive but a negative image?” The very nature of these characters as archetypes further emphasizes the effect of Shakespeare’s particular moulding of them in a way that destabilizes
Similar to other classic literature, Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey exhibits the human struggle against a greater power, which each person must use their intellect, courage, and morals to overcome. These factors, which can be seen by the epithets and rhetorical questions, are posed to Penelope during the book. The poem is an exultation of man over the glory of the Gods because despite man’s limitations his achievements are obtained through the combination of his intelligence, fortitude and skills not supernatural powers.
The book then talks about viewpoints of women, both real and those who face tragedy. Women during this time were very secluded and silent, but the heroines contradicted that. This chapter talks about the images of women in the classical literature in Athens, and the role they had in society. Many tragedies were ones that formed by mythes during the Bronze Age. It showed the separation in what made women heroic, rather than average. While viewing other Scholarly sourcese, Pomerory writes her own theory, she used others
In the Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, there are many themes that serve to make a comment about the meanings of the story. The theme of women in the poem serves to make these comments but also establishes a point of view on women in the reader. From this point of view, a perspective is developed into the "best" and "worst" in women. Achievement of this is through the characterization of many women with single notable evil qualities. Similar to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, Eve like the many women in the Odyssey brings about pain and suffering for mankind. Contrary to the depicting of women as roots of evil, the reader sees the other traits of women that are most desirable. The roles of these women are achieved by their portrayal throughout the poem. This in return has a significant affect on how the poem and the message that is conveyed.
Literature is the key to our world or language. Many writers have emerged from this subject such as Homer who wrote The Odyssey and Euripidies who wrote about the evil Medea. Also mentioned in this paper are the Thousand and One Arabian Nights which is a collection of folktales and stories that are compiled into one. Each of these works of literature has a woman character that has many similarities in solving their problems. In The Odyssey the woman character that will be in comparison is Penelope which is Odysseus’s wife. In the story of Medea, Medea is of course the character we will be discussing and Shaharazad is the woman character from the Thousand and One Arabian Nights that will also be in comparison. Each of these women find themselves in a particularly “sticky situation.” However, Penelope, Medea, and Shahrazad are three strong women whose perseverance and cleverness help them to attain their goals.
Characterization has been established as an important part of literature as it allows authors to fully develop characters’ personalities, allowing readers to understand the characters and their actions. In the poem Judith, the author uses adjective phrases to describe Judith and Holofernes’ personalities. The diverse contrast in their nature highlights the heroic qualities in Judith, which teach the reader to have faith in God, as that is where her courage and strength stems from. Therefore, characterization can further be used as a technique to establish major themes in a work of
Though not the focus of epic poetry, the female characters of this ancient genre play a central role, as they have a great influence on the male heroes they encounter. In a genre which idealizes manliness and heroism—that is, acts of courage, strength, and cunning— women are set in opposition to these ideals and therefore less respected. At the same time, women who attempt to take on more “masculine” roles are vilified. Here, antagonist is defined as anyone in opposition to the hero’s goals. Female agency—their free will and ability to wield power—is directly related to their role in epic poetry; that is, the more agency a female character has, the more antagonistic of a role she plays. This agency is often enacted through sexuality or supernatural
Greek tragedy incorporates female characters that symbolize women in Ancient Greece. Through the portrayal of Antigone in the playwright, Antigone in Antigone by Sophocles and Penelope in the epic poem, The Odyssey by Homer, these two women play opposing roles depicting how they appear to society through their actions. In both of these stories, they embody the ideals of passionate women who are very loyal and brave. Through other female characters in each story such as Penelope and Ismene, we can construct a better view of traits illustrated by Antigone and Penelope.
As George Eliot once said, “It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.” Whether viewing a piece of artwork or another person, there are often many points of view to evaluate in order to find the true core of the subject. In great works of literature, authors often create complex and dynamic characters to add depth and meaning into the story. In the Iliad, Homer beautifully depicts the multifaceted character of Achilles as an epic hero. As readers look closely at Achilles, he reveals different sides of himself as the epic poem develops. Representing the struggle between his dominant, selfish, and Dionysian nature as an epic hero and his hidden empathetic Apollonian core, Achilles reveals the mythos of the Iliad which states that war degrades mankind into objects and only the pursuit of Apollonian regard for others renews their humanity.
The Iliad narrates a story about the Trojan War, where the desire to possess a woman caused the battle for 10 years. There are several female characters that represent the position of the woman in society, the “ideal” of women at that time, and the role of women in decision-making processes. The Iliad draws a picture of women not only as a Goddess, but also as a mortal human being. The beautiful Helen embodies the idea of the passivity of a woman, her absolute dependence on a higher power, she is just a “prize of honor” for all these heroes and lovers around her. At the same time, Helen is an ideal woman for ancient people,
To begin, the one true reason the Trojan War began is because of the astonishing queen named Helen, whose angelic loveliness sparked the tension between Troy and Greece. Helen was the queen of the Greek city-state Sparta, married to King Menelaeus. In Heinrich Schliemann’s book “The Search for Troy” he announced that “Helen was considered to be the most gorgeous mortal in the entire world” (Schliemann 36). Her godly looks were adored all around, but one man was jealous of Greece having such a beautiful queen, and wanted her all to himself. The mighty prince, known to be the prince of Troy, named Paris had traveled to Sparta and kidnapped Helen, and returned to Troy along with her; little did he know that soon his dreadful decision would foreshadow the future of Troy and its citizens. Once the Greeks had discovered that their beloved jewel was missing, and had found where she had been taken to, the Greeks immediately launc...