Throughout Homer’s work, The Odyssey, the roles of both men and women are extremely prevalent. The women are expected to perform the duties of the homemaker and family caretaker while the men are sent out to fight and defend their pride and honor, both very important facets of Greek society. Though the women may appear as insignificant to readers at first, their true power over the men in the work cannot be ignored.
From book one of The Odyssey Homer makes the expected duties of women in society very apparent. However, it is not until the second book of the poem that Homer addresses the ultimate power and influence that the women hold. The first woman whose role is explicitly evident is Penelope. Telemachus’ comment to her in book one begins this evidence.
back to your quarters. Tend to your own tasks,
the distaff and the loom, and keep the women
working hard as well. As for giving orders,
men will see to that, but most of all:
I hold the reins of power in this house” (1. 409-414. 89).
Telemachus’ first comment demands that Penelope must go back to her weaving, which suggests that women may only complete household duties. Though she may disagree with her orders, she must obey; “Pene...
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Fletcher, Judith. "Women's Space and Wingless Words in The Odyssey." Phoenix 62.1/2
(2008): 77-91. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. 2nd ed. New York: Penguin, 2002. Print.
Homer. The Iliad. Trans. Robert Fagles. NY: Penguin Books, 1990.
***Prince, Meredith. "The Ties That (Un)Bind: Fathers, Daughters, and Pietas in Ovid's
Metamorphoses." Syllecta Classica 22.1 (2011): 39-68. Project MUSE. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
Publius Ovidus Naso . Metamorphoses. New York: Norton, 2004. Print.
Virgil,. The Aeneid. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Group, 2008. Print.
Wildman, Banks J. "Juno in The Aeneid." The Classical Weekly. Vol. 2. Washington DC:
Classical Association of the Atlantic States, 1908. 26-29. 4 vols. Web. 5 Feb. 2014.
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