Essay on Power Structures in Greek History

Words: 1788
Pages: 8

[Author’s Name]
[Tutor’s Name]
03 August 2010
Power Structures in Greco-Roman Mythology: The Power and the Powerless of Women Introduction Greco-Roman mythology is rich in names, characters, and events. Dozens of gods, goddesses, and mortal women and men participate in a variety of activities that reflect or exemplify behaviors and power relations in Greek and Roman societies. A wealth of literature was written about the relationships between mortals and immortals in Greco-Roman mythology. Much was written and said about the place humans occupy in the complex mythical hierarchies. However, the role and place of women remain the topic of the hot literary debate. In Greco-Roman mythology, the image of woman is always
…show more content…
Greco-Roman mythology describes Zeus as a god who would do everything possible and impossible to seduce a woman he likes. He exemplifies the superiority of male power and the overall submissiveness of women to male orders. Io cannot but follow Zeus’s demands and turns into another victim of his charm. Hera’s monstrousness and hatred toward Io are the products of Hera’s ambiguous position in society, which uniquely combines power and slavery and does not give her a single chance to release herself from the chains of the existing social norms. Aphrodite (or Venus) continues and extends the image of a woman-goddess, who holds an ambiguous position in society. A woman of unique power and decision-making abilities, Aphrodite seems to have everything she needs to dominate men and to fulfill her own desires. She shows herself as a goddess always ready to support mortals in their fight for fairness and justice: “Venus keeps ever by Alexandrus’ side to defend him in any danger; indeed she has just rescued him when he made sure that it was all over him – for the victory really did lie with Menelaus” (Homer, The Iliad). Venus (Aphrodite) is the goddess of beauty, pleasure and procreation who helps mortals to win the race of Hippomenes and brings the statue of Pygmalion back to life. However, there is also another side of Aphrodite’s character which combines power, evil, revenge, jealousy, and