Women In the Iliad
The role of women in the Iliad is a subject that remains open to debate. Lefkowitz, in her article The Heroic Women of Greek Epic, argues that without the role of women in the Iliad the story would not have occurred (504 ).
Lefkowitz points out that the Iliad opens with a description of a plague that was caused as the result of the capture of Chrysies by Agamemnon (504). Chryseis is the daughter of a priest named Chryses. Chryses wants his daughter back, so he offers a ransom to Agamemnon to try to get him to return his daughter. Agamemnon doesn't accept the ransom, so Chyrses prays to Apollo to help him. Upon Chyrses's prayer, Apollo sends a plague on the Greeks. Once the plague is sent and it starts to affect Agamemnon's people, Agamemnon then agrees to return Chyrses to her father.
Lefkowitz then goes on to discuss another battle in this story that was caused because of a woman. That is the battle between Agamemnon and Achilles. Once Agamemnon had returned Chrysesis to her father, he felt that he should have another prize in her place. Agamemnon decided that he wanted Briseis, a war prize that belonged to Achilles. Achilles did not want to give her up because he won her in a war. Agamemnon didn't agree so he sent some men to take Briseis away from Achilles. Once Briseis had been taken away from Achilles, Achilles refused to fight in the war. When Achilles decided not to fight in the war it caused the Greek side to suffer many losses, and it also led to the death of his best friend Patroclus.
Lefkowitz believes that the Iliad wouldn't be complete without the role of women. In comparison, Michael Murphy, author of Vows, Boasts and Taunts, And the Role Of Women In So...
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... would not have occurred. Questions do arise from the theories of these two authors. One may wonder if women in the Iliad played roles other than being the main force of war in the story, further research would help clarify that issue.
Lefkowitz, Mary R. "The Heroic Women Of Greek Epic." The American Scholar Autumn 87, Vol. 56 Issue 4: 503-518. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Montgomery, AL. 2 Feb 2006 troy.blackboard.com/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab=courses&url=/bin/common/course.pl?course_id=
Murphy, Michael. "Vows, Boasts, And Taunts, And the Role Of Women In Some Medieval Literature." English Studies; Apr 85, Vol. 66 Issue 2: 105-112. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Montgomery, AL. 2 FEB 2006
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