The Role Of Women In Homer's The Odessy

1003 words - 4 pages

The Role of Women in The OdysseyIn Greek mythology, there are both Gods, and Goddesses. In Homers The Odyssey, the epic poem's hero, Odysseus, encounters both on his journey home back to his wife, Penelope. This proves difficult with all the epic encounters that slow his journey down. But Odysseus is strong; both physically and mentally, able to escape the obstacles in his wake to get home. However, these traits and Odysseus's ability are constantly challenged by the temptation of women. In The Odyssey, examples of such temptation reflect woman as seducing and powerful; but despite this, they still fall subordinate to men, due to gender roles. Odysseus's numerous encounters with women make this clear.A prime example of the importance of the roles of women in the Odyssey is their roles as seductresses. When Odysseus' crew arrives on Circe's island, they are attracted to Circe's house because of the alluring voice of the beautiful but monstrous goddess. Homer describes her as an "enchantress". As "low she sang/ in her beguiling voice" (lines 13-14), Odysseus' men respond to this by calling onto her and entering her house. The men's desires for Circe allows the Goddess to exploit their weaknesses, trick them, and thus use this opportunity turn them into swine, proudly proclaiming they go "Down in the sty and snore with all the rest!"(line 51). By turning the men into the lesser animals, or more like her 'pets', it shows how much power and authority Circe has over them. Odysseus, only, with the help of a protective drug and advice provided by Hermes, goes to rescue his men from Circe's island. He follows Hermes' instructions and when the goddess attempts to strike him with her sword threateningly. But, although Odysseus is very sly and resourceful, many times even he finds himself lost when he is in these types of situations with seductive women, and lies with her rather than harming her to get his men back rather than using his sword to do so. It would seem that he lied with her to get his men back, however, Odysseus was so infatuated with Circe that he remained on her island "until a year grew fat"(line 179), completely forgetting about his journey home, until his men tell him to "shake off this trance" he has because of the enchantress Circe, "and think of home" (line 184). Once he finally leaves Circe's island, he encountered a different type of alluring woman-the sirens. Portrayed as beautiful creatures with beautiful voices whom "bewitch men coasting by" (line 929), Odysseus just had to listen, despite knowing that the "Sirens will sing his mind away" (line 9). The sirens are so tempting that Odysseus ordered his crew to tie him to the ship and stuff their ears with wax to avoid being lured in to their demise. This shows that women can be seducing, but powerful, too, using this to their advantage.Not only are these women beautiful, they are smart too. In Greek...

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