Women in The Odyssey Essay

Women in The Odyssey Essay

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Women in The Odyssey

In The Odyssey the main character, Odysseus, meets and entertains an
impressive array of women. All of the women that he meets are very different
and have different personalities and Homer clearly states his attitude towards
each of the women. Some of the women are seen as essentially 'good' or
essentially 'bad.' It is also clear that Homer adopts a sexist attitude towards the
women in his novel. In The Odyssey women are generally portrayed as
manipulative and deceitful and Homer is a sexist who holds a double standard of
morality for men and for women.

There is one thing that all the women, be they human or god, in The
Odyssey have in common: they are all very clever. There are two ways that the
reader can interpret this characteristic that women share: either Homer feels that
women are very intelligent or he feels that women are underhanded and sneaky.
The opinion of Homer is probably the latter because the most of the women that
Odysseus, the hero of the novel, encounters use their intelligence against him.
Kalypso and Kerke both try to seduce Odysseus into staying on their islands,
while Penelope uses her cleverness to trick the suitors into believing that it took
her three years to weave a shroud.

There are two goddesses that Homer wants the reader to perceive as
'bad' women: the goddesses Kalypso and Kerke. Kalypso is a goddess who kept
Odysseus on her island for seven years so she could have him. She is portrayed
at this very greedy and lustful nymph who seduces Odysseus into forgetting
about his home and "forces" him to have sex with her every night. She is also
'bad' because she, through her great guile, makes Odysseus forget about his
home and his beloved wife, Pen...


... middle of paper ...


...hile her husband goes off to fight wars and have adventures.
It is not fair for Homer is have these double standard for male and female
heroes/heroines- the man can leave his wife at home and go off and sleep with
women other than his wife. But the woman should stay at home, she should be
noble and not remarry even if her husband does not return for twenty years and
it is simply out of the question for her to have an affair even if her husband is
having numerous ones.

In The Odyssey women are generally portrayed as manipulative and
deceitful and Homer is a sexist who holds a double standard of morality for men
and for women. Even though there are women who are considers good they are
seen as good because they are subservient to their husbands. Homer also holds
a double standard when it comes to what defines a moral man and what defines
a moral woman.

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