Homer's The Odyssey Essay

Homer's The Odyssey Essay

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Since the beginning of human civilization, women have often occupied inferior roles in society while the dominant role has been played by men. In Homer’s The Odyssey gender roles in Greek society are emphasized showing how men controlled society while women were undervalued and constantly disrespected. Although it may be argued that Homer poses some rather feminist views, it is evident by several elements that The Odyssey is a misogynistic text. First, women in the Odyssey were continually oppressed by men never having true free will. In addition, Women were depicted as symbols of lust, seduction, and evil who bring destruction to men, undermining the true values of women. Furthermore, Women were expected to remain loyal to men while men have no expectation for themselves which promoted gender inequality. Exemplified by these three elements, it is evident that The Odyssey is a misogynistic text depicting a society where women occupy subservient and inferior positions.
The Odyssey exemplifies a society organized and controlled by men where males consistently treated women unequally depriving them of true freedom. Homer’s male characters often saw women as second-hand citizens who had not true voice in society. One example of a women who is oppressed by men in the text is Odysseus’ wife Penelope. Although Penelope is queen of Ithaca her power in the kingdom is limited. Her life is controlled by her son Telemachus and the Achaean suitors who have been taken advantage of the kingdom for several years. At one point in the text Telemachus tells his mother “Words are for men, for all, especially for me; for power within this house rest here” (Homer, 7). This shows how men regarded themselves as the ones with power over society while they...


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...tested Odysseus to make sure it was him for she “feared some man might come and cheat [her] with his tale” (Homer, 226) showing how truly loyal she is to Odysseus. Although Odysseus was unfaithful there is no consequence for his actions for he is a man but for those women who were unfaithful it could be see how they are punished by men. In the case of Odysseus’ maids they were “unworthy” for they laid with the suitors and as punishment Telemachus says that “By no honorable death [their lives will be taken]” (Homer, 220). The difference in expectations between men and women when it comes to loyalty promotes gender inequality which makes the views The Odyssey has on society rather misogynistic.
Homer endorsed the dominating belief of his time concerning women by treating the female characters unequally and differently compared to the male characters in The Odyssey

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