Female Characters Of ' The Odyssey ' Essay

Female Characters Of ' The Odyssey ' Essay

Length: 1080 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In the era of Homer, women played a very specific role in society, and even in literature. Women of this time were basically put in a box, and expected to never step out of line. If they did go against the arbitration of men, then they were faced with serious consequences. However, female characters play a huge role in both aiding, and delaying Odysseus’s journey home. I will proceed to analyze, and interpret the actions and intentions of every major female character in The Odyssey.
The first major female character that is introduced in this epic is Penelope. Penelope is the wife of Odysseus, and the mother of Telemachus. She is portrayed as a strong-willed widow, who even after not seeing Odysseus for twenty years, keeps her trust in her husband to return home. Penelope is faced with plenty of temptation in Ithaca while her husband is away. The family suitors constantly try to tempt and seduce her, due to the suitors’ greed for money and power to Odysseus’s throne. This is the outlook of the suitors that Penelope wants the people of Ithaca to have. Throughout the books, Penelope proves herself as highly emotionally intelligent. She has had the suitors wrapped around her finger for many years, by extending empty promises and flirtatious notions. Antinous, one of the suitors for Penelope, has a monologue explaining how Penelope is tempting the suitors. He says:
Laying the blame on us. It is not the suitors who are at fault, but your own mother, who knows more tricks than any woman alive. It’s been three years now, almost four, since she’s been toying with our affections. She encourages each man, leading us on, sending messages. But her mind is set elsewhere. (Homer 304)
Penelope is a staple in Ithaca, and is seen as royalty. She i...

... middle of paper ...

...urning home. He has many doubts and worries. The main worry being that his wife has not been faithful, and will not take him back in his home. Athena assures him:
Any other man come home from hard travels would rush to his house to see his children and wife. But you don’t even want to hear how they are until you test your wife, who, as a matter of fact, just sits in the house, weeping away the lonely days and nights. (Homer 514).
Homer’s female characters are very powerful beings in this epic. He shows how much the willpower, and loyalty of Penelope is rewarded in the end. Even the antagonist female character such as the temptress witch Circe has extreme power. She is able to turn Odysseus’s men into pigs, and entrance Odysseus into a year-long love affair. The theme of powerful women is reoccurring in Homer’s works, and I really enjoy that about reading his epics.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay Female Characters Of The Odyssey And The Epic Of Gilgamesh

- The Odyssey by Homer tells the account of the celebrated king Odysseus and of his great feats on his way back to Ithaca, much like the Epic of Gilgamesh expresses the feats of the great king Gilgamesh and his friend Endiku. These male characters are exemplified in their incredible feats and capabilities. However, many of these deeds would not be possible without the help of the female characters. The seemingly perfect male characters have their greatest weakness in women and many of their pitfalls are a result of encounters with women....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Epic of Gilgamesh, Epic poetry]

Strong Essays
718 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Greek Tragedy : Female Characters That Symbolize Women

- 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....   [tags: Odyssey, Trojan War, Greek mythology, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Essay The Women Characters Of Homer 's Odyssey

- THE WOMEN CHARACTERS IN HOMER 'S “ODYSSEY” Homer 's Odyssey is certainly a primarily masculine story, an epic poem centered on the heroic deeds of a universal figure, Odysseus, who is seen returning from the Trojan War in the company of his male comrades. As with its companion work The Iliad, The Odyssey describes the man 's world of war, male camaraderie, and heroic struggle against natural and manmade forces. Seen in this context, the female characters of the epic are decidedly secondary; apart from the fact that Odysseus ' wife Penelope is the source and symbol of his longing to return home, the story does not seem to turn upon their decisions or deeds....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Athena, Homer]

Strong Essays
1308 words (3.7 pages)

The Odyssey By Homer 's Odyssey Essay

- In the Odyssey, women play a much greater role in the development of the story than in previous instances in Greek Mythology. These women, such as the Sirens and Circe, not only serve the purpose of providing multiple opportunities for Odysseus to abandon his responsibilities in Ithaca but they are also integral to the theme of seduction and male weakness in the Odyssey. While some of the female characters in this epic do support the male heroes, their role in the Odyssey has more to do with showing how simple it would be for these heroes to fail....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Homer, Greek mythology]

Strong Essays
1017 words (2.9 pages)

The Iliad And The Odyssey Essay

- Women 's roles in the Iliad and Odyssey the seem to differ from the roles of men. Women were depicted as possessions to the men. Athena seems to stand out the most when it comes to both of these books Athena is the goddess of wisdom and war. Not only was Athena the goddess of wisdom and war, she played the role of the protector. Athena is one of the main female characters that truly show out throughout the Iliad and the Odyssey. An ancient history website states that “Athena was a major protagonist in Homer’s account of the Trojan War in the Illiad where she supports the Achaeans and their heroes, especially Achilles, to whom she gives encouragement and wise counsel." Athena beings to firs...   [tags: Trojan War, Iliad, Odysseus, Odyssey]

Strong Essays
703 words (2 pages)

Essay on Role of Women in the Odyssey

- “A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view” (Ibsen). This saying also applied to the times of the Odyssey, an epic constructed by the blind, eight century B.C.E. poet, Homer. As one of the few representatives of ancient Greek social order, the blind, Homer witnessed women as substandard to men, regardless of their actions; many of them existed as seductresses, prostitutes, or slaves....   [tags: Homer, Odyssey Essays]

Strong Essays
1575 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on Cultural Values Of Homer 's Odyssey

- Within the Penelopiad, Atwood’s responds to the cultural values of Homer’s Odyssey through the characterisation of Penelope. Penelope’s narrative perspective exposes aspects of gender and class relationships that the Homeric original ignores. Atwood couples this with multiple genres and an emphasis on the process of myth formation. This serves to challenge the construction of the Odyssey as a tool to encode social norms. However, this focus on subjectivity also emphasises the unreliable female narration of the Penelopiad....   [tags: Odysseus, Odyssey, Narrator, Homer]

Strong Essays
1843 words (5.3 pages)

Female Voices Of The Odyssey Essay

- 2. Why do you think we hear more female voices (e.g. Penelope, Arete, Helen, etc) in the Odyssey than in Classical Athens. What 's different about Classical Athens. In Greek mythology, women are typically associated with everything natural and evil, such as passion, jealousy, anger etc… and in Classical Athens, society feared their union because they thought some sort of crazy ritual must be going on. Some of these characteristics are depicted in the Odyssey. In fact, the slaves are shown serving the suitors, obeying their commands to meet their needs (even sexually)....   [tags: Sparta, Battle of Thermopylae, Ancient Greece]

Strong Essays
824 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Role of Women in Homer's Odyssey

- 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....   [tags: Homer, Odyssey Essays]

Strong Essays
936 words (2.7 pages)

Threatening Women of Homer's Odyssey Essay example

- The Threatening Women of Homer's Odyssey         Aristotle called this poem 'a story of character' which is very true, as the analysis of people in the Odyssey id detailed and they are carefully depicted. Though the women still remain a fairly mysterious force that test Odysseus' determination for 'nostos' (hero's return home), requiring the man whose words are "like snowflakes" to use every trick he has to evade their threat, his civility not allowing him to strike them. In the Underworld, Agamemnon made it very clear in his enlightened state (consider the wiser Achilles who now regrets his noble death - "rather work the soil as a serf...than be King of all these lifeless dead" 11.490), a...   [tags: Homer, Odyssey Essays]

Strong Essays
1893 words (5.4 pages)