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. Calypso, for example, sheds light on the double standards that exist between gods and goddesses: “Hard-hearted you are, you gods! You unrivaled lords of jealousy- scandalized when goddesses sleep with mortals” (Odyssey 5.130-34). Calypso feels that her sexuality makes her susceptible to unfair treatment by the gods. This further proves the point that women were objectified, sexually and otherwise, in Greek culture. It is important to note that Odysseus’ relationship with most goddesses throughout The Odyssey involves the act of sex. Athena, on the other hand, personifies both feministic and non-feministic traits, although they are not necessarily masculine traits. This is quite strange, however, as most women are represented as solely feminine and completely inferior to men. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and war. According to Homer, in the Iliad, Athena is portrayed as a fierce and ruthless warrior, characteristics that women were not generally assigned during this time period. At the same time, Athena is illustrated as being emotional, acting on her emotions. She has a soft spot for Odysseus, helping him in his battle against the suitors in book 22 of The Odyssey. Las...
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...ays, being forced to do housework while men provide for the family. This, essentially, proves that Greek culture was sexist by today’s standards. However, during the time period, this was the norm.
The Odyssey presents women from all different backgrounds, providing a fair depiction of the roles women played and the way women acted in ancient Greece. Women were looked at as sexual objects, objects in general, and as emotional, feminine individuals with no real purpose but to take care of the home from the inside. Although this portrayal may be deemed sexist by today’s standards, during this time in Greek history, women had specific roles and they abided by the rule within these roles, and this was normal and not challenged. Overall, The Odyssey portrays women accurately within the time period, and does so through some of the most influential women in Greek history.
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