The Role of Women in Homer's The Odessy

Essay by bfaunl10Junior High, 9th gradeA+, October 2014

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The Role of Women in The Odyssey

In 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...