Injustice in Ancient Greece Essay example

Injustice in Ancient Greece Essay example

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Myths have been present in societies around the world since humans have been able to think. Not only did ancient people use myths to explain the world, but myths were also used to convey the culture of a society. The characters in myths play a key role in depicting the values and beliefs of people from that time. In Homer’s famed tale The Odyssey, the portrayal of women brings to light the misogyny in Ancient Greece and exposes Odysseus as a flawed hero.
The Greeks scorn and blame women for Odysseus’ actions in order to maintain his image as an admirable hero. When Odysseus recounts his stay on Ogygia with the “witch, Calypso, a radiant creature,” she is portrayed as the villain for seducing Odysseus because she is a woman, which in Ancient Greek culture means she is always in the wrong (Rouse 3). No one ever recognizes that during his seven years on the island, Odysseus is regularly unfaithful to “his lady” Penelope (li. 1573). He claims that “in [his] heart [he] never gave consent” to sleep with Calypso, but if Odysseus is truly devoted to his wife, then he would not have allowed himself to give in to the alluring nymph (li. 662). Odysseus is just as much at fault as Calypso, but the Greeks only hold her responsible because it is easier to criticize a woman instead of a man. Due to the patriarchy in Ancient Greek society, women hold lower statuses than men and are less respected, so it is easier to cast them in a negative light since ultimately they are inconsequential in comparison to men. Odysseus, like many other men, is a hero who represents the Greeks and is as close to a god as most mortals reach. The Greeks never question or disapprove of his actions because they are more willing to turn a blind eye to his flaws and onl...

... middle of paper ... Odysseus is truly a flawed hero.
The Greeks’ reverence for Odysseus blinds them to his flaws; they are so desperate to believe in his goodness that they would rather wrongfully blame the women than admit that their hero is imperfect.
Their ideals of what a hero should be are so narrow-minded that they cannot accept their hero’s imperfections. This intolerance leads them to cast blame and aspersions on women who do not entirely deserve them so the hero can fulfill their expectations. The Greeks were accustomed to being freely hateful toward women; however that does not make their contempt any more acceptable, and people today should not assume this same accepting outlook on injustice.

Works Cited

Homer, and W. H. D. Rouse. "Book One, Book Five, Book Ten, Book Twelve." The Odyssey: The Story of Odysseus. New York: Signet Classics, 2007. 3+. Print.

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