Essay PreviewMore ↓
In Xenophon’s Oeconomicus, Ischomachos describes his own marriage to Socrates who then relates it to Kritoboulos, and consequently to the audience as well. This marriage retains many of the same functional characteristics that are commonly seen in Hellenistic marriages, but it also exhibits some less common, but still very significant details of how the marriage is mutually supportive, especially in terms of these details of the institution of marriage in Ancient and Athenian Greece. It is evident in the way that Ischomachos describes his wife’s duties to her, that there is a definite teacher-student dimension in their relationship. However, it should be noted that Ischomacus’ intimate knowledge of his wife’s tasks allows him to do something that is not altogether common in modern society—understand the difficulty and complexities of his wife’s duties, and how important they are to the household as a whole. This knowledge and appreciation of his wife’s work is manifested in his response when she makes a mistake with the housekeeping, saying charitably, “Don’t be discouraged, woman…you aren’t at fault in this, but rather I am”(Oeconomicus, VIII,2). By this statement he recognizes the team element of the marriage, and emphasizes that not fulfilling ones duties hurts the marriage in general, in this case taking responsibility for his own actions and reassuring his wife of her good work.
Based on this understanding and appreciation of the roles that each member of the couple plays in the marriage, the marriage becomes a stronger bond, and the couple can function like a team. Indeed, Ischomachos is very generous, at least in comparison to other Greek husbands in famous drama in terms of how he shares his wealth and wisdom with his wife.
How to Cite this Page
"Hellenistic Marriages Can Be Mutually Supportive." 123HelpMe.com. 09 Dec 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Hellenistic Homemaker In both Xenophon’s Oeconomicus and Lysias’ defense of Euphiletus’ murder of Eratosthenes, insight into the purpose and function of Athenian marriage may be gained by examination of the speeches of two citizens about their wives and their homes. Through both texts, it becomes apparent that the citizen’s value of his wife is based upon his wife’s ability as an “oikonomikos” or “skilled household manager” (Strauss, 3). It is through filling this role as her husband’s housekeeper that an Athenian woman experienced a loss of personal freedom and found herself trapped within a marriage in which she had little contact or much in common with her husband.... [tags: Marriage Athenian Women Papers]
2010 words (5.7 pages)
- Should Gay Marriages be Legalized. Homosexuality is a hot topic in the world today. We see it on the news, hear it on the radio and even read about it in the newspaper. I believe there will always be homosexuals as long as people live. For years society has looked down upon and condemned gays and lesbians. Even the Constitution of the United States forbids certain rights to homosexuals. For years homosexuals were not allowed to serve in the military unless they hid their sexuality. As I got older and came in contact with homosexuals and have friends and family members that are open about their sexuality, I sometimes question my beliefs, because most of the homosexuals I know personally have... [tags: Homosexuality, Marriages, Society, Legal]
1194 words (3.4 pages)
- The topic of homosexual marriages, or the marrying of two people of the same sex, is rather disputed among the majority of people in today’s society. Only small amounts of the population have opinions that are strongly favoring one side of the debate. For most of society who are the middle-of-the-road citizens, it is a tough call to make one way or the other. The main topics that are disputed are raising children in a same-sex household, the capacity of churches to allow such a marriage, and the integrity of a marriage as a legal document.... [tags: Homosexual Marriages, marriage, argumentative, per]
811 words (2.3 pages)
- Imagine not being able to marry the person you want to spend the rest of your life with because society doesn’t believe in who you are or who you choose to be with. Just think, of the scenario where you loved a person with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, but society doesn’t believe that who you love, is “right”. Gay rights should be legalized for numerous reasons but the three most debated over is it will decrease the amount suicide rates of gay teens, its biological, and everyone should be treated equally no matter who they like and who they want to love. To being with, gay rights should be legalized because it will decrease the amount of suicide rates of gay teens and even a... [tags: legal issues, same sex marriages]
1059 words (3 pages)
- In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer portrays a wide spectrum of marriage from what can be traditionally seen as the worst to the best. Three of these tales, The Miller's, The Franklin's, and The Wife of Bath's, support this examination of what can constitute an ideal marriage. First in the Miller's tale is exposed what can be interpreted as the worst type of marriage. In this fabliau Chaucer exposes the problems of an older man marrying a younger women and gives the impression that this situation should not be desired in a marriage, “He was jealous and kept her on a short leash, / for she was wild and young, and he was old” (lines 38-39).... [tags: spectrum of marriage as seen by Chaucer]
649 words (1.9 pages)
- Arranges marriages have had a successful yet oppressive impact on the World’s society since the Elizabethan Era. They have been most commonly found in the eastern cultures such as India and Japan. In the western culture it used to be extremely popular during the Elizabethan Era. As though it seems today that a marriage is to seal the love one has for another, having an arranged marriage is as if sealing a contract with your parents. Arranged marriages influence the societies that use them by providing wealth, money, and power to the couples and their families even if the marriage is unjust.... [tags: Arranged Marriages Essays]
1403 words (4 pages)
- That is what fifty percent of Americans are doing. What is ultimately leading to people ending their marriages. The spectrum ranges from simple to complicated. “And divorce rates would climb now that couples had broader access” (Abrams). People believe couples are more likely to divorce because it has become so much easier to do so. But why should people need to stay in an unhealthy marriage, is it just because society thinks the reasons for divorce are irrelevant. What may be just a bump in the road for one person, could be a deal breaker for the other.... [tags: marriages, divorce, family]
1405 words (4 pages)
- The United States has a spotted history regarding social inequality in various areas. Same-sex marriage is one of the most controversial issues in America today. The Department of Justice is currently preparing to issue a statement to give same-sex marriages equal protection under federal law as traditional marriages. The intend of this paper is to illustrate how social prejudice against sexual orientation carries some of the same affects on people as racial and gender inequality. This paper will provide examples of racial and gender inequality in comparison to the inequalities sex-same marriages some people are currently experiencing.... [tags: inequalities, justice, traditional marriages]
919 words (2.6 pages)
- Should Same Sex Marriages Be Allowed. An ongoing debate: Should gay and lesbian couples be allowed to legally marry. In the opposing articles from Newsweek (June 3, 1996), Andrew Sullivan defends the rights of gay marriage in “Let Gays Marry” and William Bennett expresses the opposite view in “Leave Marriage Alone.” Sullivan is one of the editors for The New Republic and has also authored a book entitled Virtually Normal: An Argument about Homosexuality. [Gruber 25] Bennett is best known as the editor of The Book of Virtues and is also the co-director of Empower America.... [tags: Marriages Homosexuality Essays]
1165 words (3.3 pages)
- The Religion of Hellenistic Greece The religion of Greece in early times was polytheistic. The religion was incorporated into every aspect of the culture including art, and literature. This was the religion that was practiced during the "Golden Age" of Greece. The gods of Hellenistic Greece existed in every form and fashion. There were gods for everything in life like government, sex, month of birth, trade, and human traits (i.e. wisdom, love, war, birth, rain, etc.) The Greeks believed that the only answer to death was to be remembered in fantastic tales and heroic deeds.... [tags: Religion]
690 words (2 pages)
Yet Ischomachos’ relationship with his wife does not stop at being responsible only in the affairs of the household and the duties that the husband and wife must perform. Indeed, not only is the sense of a long-term bond present, but also the idea of love is even introduced in this play. When Ischomachos relates an instance in which his wife puts on makeup, which he doesn’t approve of, he asks her how she would like it if he dressed up in all types of false jewels and such. She agrees that this type of dressing is false and undesirable, saying “if you did, I could never love you from my soul”(Oecon., X,4). Ischomachos follows this comment, asking if the two hadn’t become “as partners in one another’s bodies?”(Oecon., X,4). Ischomachos continues to ask her if he would seem “more worthy to be loved as a partner in the body”(Oecon., X,5) if he used makeup and false finery. Despite the strange context of this exchange, there are some clear implications that can be drawn from it. First of all, the word love is mentioned for the first time in this work, indeed it is not altogether common to hear of love for one’s husband or wife in Greek literature in general, and this concept of “sharing bodies” is also introduced. While the “sharing bodies” idea seems to lend itself to the concept of marriage as an institution existing for procreation, in this context there seems to be at least some feeling involved. The two parties involved in the relationship, although they are newly married, seem to recognize that there can and will be love present in their marriage, and care about how the other one acts and behaves, based on this love. Indeed, if love were not present in the relationship, there would be no motivation for Ischomachos to care what his wife wears around the house, or how she behaves personally, but he does care what she does, even in the presence of only him, and cares enough to help her become a better wife and person.
Another play that deals with a very strong although somewhat exceptional marriage is that of Alcestis and Admetus in the satyr play Alcestis. It is clear from the beginning of the play that Alcestis and Admetus have a great deal of love for each other, but this is not what makes their marriage exceptional. The fact that Alcestis is willing to, and eventually does die for her husband, makes this marriage peculiar, but this act and acts that are spawned because of it are indicative of mutual support in the marriage of the two, and transcends the pragmatic support with a strong sense of love and devotion. In the spirit of Oeconomicus, there are examples to be found in Alcestis of the common functional relationship between husband and wife. Alcestis and Admetus seem to have the same kind of “teamwork” relationship as the couple in Oeconomicus, indicated by Alcestis’ knack for knowing and performing well her role as guardian of the household, as the chorus indicates, saying “she who in my mind appears noble beyond all women aside in a wife’s duty?”(Alcestis, 83-85). Admetus is likewise conscious of the important role his wife plays in his household, since after she dies he mourns not only her death personally, but mourns the state of the house now that Alcestis is gone, saying “hateful the sight of this house, widowed, empty”(Alcestis, 861-863). In another example of this husband-wife couple working as a team, Alcestis sternly informs Admetus of his role now in raising their children, “And now you must be the children’s mother too, instead of me”(Alcestis, 377), indicating her expectation that Admetus pick up on the household responsibilities where her death leaves off.
Of course, the simple fact that Alcestis is willing to die for her husband speaks volumes about her devotion and love for her husband, as she is heralded as being courageous, a good wife, and a good woman throughout the play. Even the husband’s own family who raised him is not willing to do what Alcestis has done. In contrast to Alcestis’ brave and extremely caring action, Admetus doesn’t go to these same lengths for his wife as she does for him, but he does take steps to support and respect her as she dies. First, he agrees to her dying wishes, including “do not marry again”(Alcestis, 304), out of respect for her, and demands that proper, even extravagant funeral arrangements be made, “saying that he will “ordain a public mourning for his wife”(Alcestis, 426), complete with robes, shaved heads, and chariots. In his personal mourning he again shows his love and appreciation for his wife, in reflecting “I envy the dead…there is no pleasure in the sunshine, nor the feel of the hard earth under my feet”(Alcestis, 866-869). Now that his wife is dead, he would just as soon be dead as well. Therefore, in the love and connection that the two feel for each other, the marriage can be found to be mutually supportive. While Alcestis is willing to die for her husband, Admetus, while he can’t duplicate her love and devotion, does all he can for her in life, as she has him in death.
Clearly, it is hard to make generalizations about Hellenistic marriages being specifically one way or another. Like today, marriages then were as varied and diverse as the people who engaged in them. However, it is important to point out the circumstances in which marriage worked well, as in Alcestis and Oeconomicus. The ways in which these marriages succeed in fostering loving, giving relationships indicate that much like modern marriage, Hellenistic marriages could be good when spouses put forth effort and thought, that they were not inherently flawed. Indeed, minor characters or the chorus venerates the marriages in these two works as models of ideal marriages and demonstrations of love between a husband and wife, and the behaviors of the characters in these works, while not average, would have been seen as the ideal, as the model to be sought after. It is important to notice these examples and others like them before one dismisses Hellenistic marriages as purely functional, loveless, or lacking in mutual benefit.