The Odyssey - Gender Roles

The Odyssey is the product of a society in which the dominant role was played by men. In ancient Greece, just as in the whole of the ancient world, and in America and Western Europe until the last century, women occupied a subservient position. Society was organized and directed by men, and all of the most important enterprises were those which men arranged and implemented. Women were valued, but they participated in the affairs of the world only when they had the tacit or open approval and permission of the men who directed their lives.
The literature of this sort of masculine society, of which the Iliad and Odyssey are examples, aptly illustrates these social conventions. The themes of ...

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or of a similar cultural background, gives such a prominent position to women. No reader of the Odyssey can help having vivid memories of the poem’s outstanding female characters. There are many women in the Odyssey and all of them contribute in mean-ingful ways to the development of the action. Furthermore, they are treated seriously and with respect by the poet, as if there were no difference between his attitude toward them and his feelings toward the chieftains for whom his epic was composed. Among the memorable women in the poem are Nausicaa, the innocent young maiden; Arete, the wise and benevolent queen and mother; Circe and Calypso, the sultry and mysterious temptresses; Penelope, the ideal of marital devotion and fidelity; Helen, the respectable middle-class matron with a past; and others, like Eurycleia and Mel-antho, who have much smaller roles, but equally well defined personalities. Finally, there is Athene, the goddess, who more than any other of these ...

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The Odyssey - Gender Roles. (2007, October 27). Retrieved February 22, 2019, from
"The Odyssey - Gender Roles.", 27 Oct. 2007. Web. 22 Feb. 2019. <>
"The Odyssey - Gender Roles." October 27, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2019.
"The Odyssey - Gender Roles." October 27, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2019.
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Added: 10/27/2007 07:56:28 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 885
Pages: 4

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