The Portrayal of Women in the Iliad Essay

The Portrayal of Women in the Iliad Essay

Length: 559 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

"So please go home and tend to your own tasks, / the distaff and the loom, and keep the women / working hard as well" (6.585-587). From this we see Hector's view of women, which is a theme that is echoed throughout the rest of the Iliad. Women are mentioned relatively few times in the Iliad in comparison with the books devoted solely to the men. Nevertheless, there is clear evidence that the role of women in this society was that of a servile follower.

The first example of women being treated as property is found at the very beginning of the poem, when Agamemnon agrees to give Chryseis back to Calchas. "But fetch me another prize, and straight off too, / else I alone of the Argives go without honor. / That would be a disgrace. You are all witness, / look--my prize is snatched away" (1.38-41)! The women are described as prizes, on par with weaponry, gold, and other honors of war. In fact, Achilles gives other women away as prizes during the funeral games for Patroclus. "For the winner a large tripod made to stride a fire / and worth a dozen oxen, so the soldiers reckoned. / For the loser he led a woman through their midst, / worth four, they thought, and skilled in many crafts (23.782-785). Not only was she a prize in a contest, she was a prize for the runner up. This is a very demeaning and degrading position.

Women were also portrayed as weaker than men in several scenes, in both the physical and the mental sense. The opening quote can be used as evidence for this, when Hector tells the women of Troy to go back to doing the projects of women, such as working on the loom and the distaff. In other words, Hector is saying that this is the only work women are suited for, certainly not the works of war which occupy men. It do...


... middle of paper ...


...nce we see women in the Iliad being referred to by both themselves and others, as liars and bitches who twist the desires of men to suit their own purpose, such as when Helen tries to persuade Hector to rest with her in book six. "My dear brother, / dear to me, bitch that I am, vicious, scheming-- / horror to freeze the heart" (6.407-409)! Here we even see a women debasing her own character.

One does not need to go into deep, critical analysis to see that women are portrayed as very weak and servile in the Iliad. We have seen them being humiliated by their husbands, brothers, and even owners. They are often charged with tasks others would find demeaning if left to someone else. The chauvinism is everywhere and it is very clear that the role of women in the Iliad was that of a woman who needs a man to take care of her and keep her lying, twisted heart in check.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay on Women of the Iliad

- Women of the Iliad In the Iliad we saw women as items of exchange and as markers of status for the men who possessed them (Chryseis and Briseis, whom Agame mnon and Achilles argue over in Book I). We saw them in their normal social roles as mothers and wives (Hecuba, Andromache in Book VI). We saw stereotypical characterizations of them as fickle (Helen in Book VI), seductive, and deceitful (Hera in Book XIV). We see them as an obstacle that the male hero has to overcome or resist to fulfill his heroic destiny (Andromache's entreaties to Hector in Book VI)....   [tags: Homer Women Iliad]

Free Essays
1237 words (3.5 pages)

Analysis Of ' The Iliad ' Essay

- In the iliad we saw ladies Likewise things of return Also Likewise markers of status to the men who possessed them (Chryseis What 's more Briseis, whom agamemnon Furthermore achilles argue through in book I). We saw them over their ordinary social parts Likewise moms What 's more wives (Hecuba, Andromache to book VI). We saw matter of course characterizations of them Likewise flighty (Helen over book VI), seductive, What 's more beguiling (Hera Previously, book XIV). We see them Likewise an impediment that the male saint need will succeed or oppose with satisfy as much gallant fate (Andromache 's entreaties to hector over book VI)....   [tags: Trojan War, Iliad, Achilles, Agamemnon]

Good Essays
1346 words (3.8 pages)

The Iliad : A Moral Lesson Essay

- In the Iliad we saw women as items of exchange and as markers of status for the men who possessed them (Chryseis and Briseis, whom Agamemnon and Achilles argue over in Book I). We saw them in their normal social roles as mothers and wives (Hecuba, Andromache in Book VI). We saw stereotypical characterizations of them as fickle (Helen in Book VI), seductive, and deceitful (Hera in Book XIV). We see them as an obstacle that the male hero has to overcome or resist to fulfill his heroic destiny (Andromache 's entreaties to Hector in Book VI)....   [tags: Trojan War, Achilles, Iliad, Agamemnon]

Good Essays
1208 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about Honor as the Theme in Homer’s The Iliad

- There are different forms and examples of exemplary and classic literature which have been deemed as significant works that are highly esteemed worldwide. These examples of literature would awe the world with how much literary skill they entailed when they were composed and written: attention to details as to formation of characters, the most crafty of plots, the most eloquent speeches and lines, the most astounding of twists of scenes, and most of all, the most universal and meaningful of themes....   [tags: Honor, Homer, Iliad]

Good Essays
2018 words (5.8 pages)

An Analysis Of Homer 's Iliad And The Trojan War Essay

- Homer, Iliad is the narration of the Trojan war. The Trojan war was one of the most important and significant wars of Greek mythology, Homer described how the war was triggered by the abduction of the most beautiful women known as Helen. This paper will argue how the traditional view of this poem is accurate because it indeed was Helens beauty and her selfishness that sparked the Trojan war. Although Helen was not happy about the outcomes of her mistakes. This paper will present how Helen faced many forms of self judgment, how she created many relationships with significant characters, such as Paris, Priam and Aphrodite....   [tags: Trojan War, Iliad, Greek mythology, Helen]

Good Essays
1724 words (4.9 pages)

Essay about Women During The Odyssey By Homer

- The women presented throughout The Odyssey provide a respectable representation of women in ancient Greece in general. There are several women introduced in The Odyssey, all of various backgrounds and social classes. The most notable women or type of women in this epic include goddesses, Penelope, and the housemaids and servants. Athena and Calypso are the most significant goddesses presented in The Odyssey. While Athena embodies both feminine and not so feminine traits, Calypso embodies the sexual nature of women and the thought and feelings of sexualized women....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Athena, Iliad]

Good Essays
730 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of Homer 's ' The Iliad And The Odyssey '

- Homer and Caliban The development of the theories of art education by various theories has been influenced by the various artistic works, especially poetry. In the past few centuries, poetry has become an important element in the development of English literature and various theories on the art of education. Notably, these poetry and theories are developed by various philosophers who have contributed in the growth of the field of education and the teaching practice. Apart from contributing to the development of education and teaching practice, these works of poetry helps in understanding medieval societies and the modern society in light of the changes that have taken place....   [tags: Gender, Gender role, Homer, Sociology]

Good Essays
1488 words (4.3 pages)

Women During Sparta And Ancient Greece Essay

- Women in Ancient Greece are often depicted as vigorous and enslaved beings, deprived of their right to freedom and social exposure within in a predominant male society. These depictions are seen throughout numerous artwork and archival findings that exhibit the hard labor in which women underwent. Through a historical context, the poignant imagery of hard labor that we see and analyze in contemporary times shows how their views are disregarded and trivial by their male surroundings. Following this further, we view Helen as a beautiful Spartan heroine, also know as the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and the Queen of Sparta, who refused to abide by demands that men imposed or not to live under ma...   [tags: Trojan War, Iliad, Helen, Greek mythology]

Good Essays
1511 words (4.3 pages)

Comparison between "The Iliad" and "The Women of Troy" Essay

- The Iliad by Homer and the Women of Troy by Euripides are both Greek works of literature that look at the Trojan War from different perspectives. Book 6 of the Iliad illustrates that the ultimate glory is to fight for the city with no regard to the impact on the family. The Women of Troy focuses on the negatives that war causes, especially towards the soldier’s wives and children. Whereas the Iliad focuses on the battle itself and centers on the warriors, the Women of Troy focuses on the wrath the war brings upon the families left behind....   [tags: Iliad, Women of Troy, Homer, Euripides, Trojan War]

Good Essays
915 words (2.6 pages)

Irresponsible Portrayal of Women in the Media Essays

- “The foolish human,” Lord Krishma preached in the Bhagvad-Gita (holy book of Hindus), “who forcefully suppresses his or her sexual desire is a hyprocrite.” Between the two genders, does not this saying of Krishna prove true of females. Women are reduced to the status of objects due to the insistence of male dominance and desire in our patriarchal world. They are denied full expression of humanity if, as Lord Krishna preached, feeling desire is a very human “thing.” Society employs many mechanisms that perpetuate patriarchy and maintain the sexual imbalance in our world....   [tags: Portrayal of Women Essays]

Free Essays
936 words (2.7 pages)