Treatment of Women in the Odyssey

1393 Words6 Pages
Throughout The Odyssey, written by Homer, the treatment of women plays a key role in the overall outcome of the story and is a central issue presented in this poem. In many scenarios it is evident that men are treated with superiority to women. During the era that this story was written, men played the dominant role. Society was organized, directed, and controlled by men, and it was accepted that women occupied a subservient and inferior position. Questia states, “Despite their vital role in Ancient Greek and Roman society, women were not considered full citizens and in most instances required a guardian – their fathers, and later husbands – to represent them” (“Women in Ancient Greece and Rome”). As his poem progresses, Homer presents female characters in different aspects, demonstrating that women should not be confined to the standard they were held in that society. At the beginning of the book, women are first introduced as being loyal, faithful, and under complete servitude to men. This presentation of women demonstrates the view of women at that time. This is evident in the treatment and actions of Penelope and Calypso. In the Greek society women were expected to stay faithful to their husbands through all circumstances although the same standards were not necessarily held to men. Questia explains that “in Ancient Rome, elite women were expected to stay at home and care for their families and homes. In 18 BCE the Emperor Augustus introduced new laws in an attempt to reform upper-class morals. He made adultery a crime, although men were only found guilty if the woman they were involved with was married” (“Women in Ancient Greece and Rome”). In the poem, Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, respects this standard. She remains loyal to him although she is unaware if he is dead or alive and he does not do the same. She cries every night for her husband, whom she
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