PreAP English P. 2
March 11th, 2015
The Odyssey Essay
The Time to be Heard As alpha is to omega: men are to women. The constant fight for rights, a voice, even freedom has lived on throughout history up until today. In the epic poem The Odyssey by
Homer translated by Robert Fitzgerald women are seen as nothing more than a boatload of problems. Whether this belief rooted from Pandora releasing all things bad into the world, or
Eve being the root of sinful nature, women always seem to be the culprit to these type of problems. From Kalypso and her island, Kirke and her “flawless bed of love”, to Penelope and her everlasting loyalty, we see the different views of what is acceptable and unacceptable in women. Women are either awful or “ideal” there is no grey area. The role of women illustrated by Homer in
The Odyssey is that they stay home, stay loyal, and represent evil.
To be a women is to be at home, that is how Homer presents the role of women in
. Often in
The Odyssey women are seen hanging around at home. Sometimes playing damsel in distress, or possibly sleeping with the men who come to visit. The goddess
Kirke is an example of a woman playing, “witch gone lover to many”. She stays in her hall turning visiting men into swine or in Odysseus’ case, inviting him to sleep with her. Except with Odysseus, it is more like begging him, so he doesn’t happen to kill her, “...Put up your weapon in the sheath. We Two / shall mingle and make love upon our bed. / So mutual trust may come to play and love” (10. 275277). Kirke is an example of what not to do with mortal men since she is in fact immortal, which is probably why she lays around turning men into assorted animals all day. In the poem Kirke is not used to portray the “ideal woman,” she is used to portray an ungodly goddess.The fact of the matter is Zeus slept with hundreds of
mortal women and didn’t lose his title of God. Kirke however loses her title of goddess and is downgraded to just immortal. An important point is, Kirke has no where to go because she is not needed in anything important, women are not the heros or the ones who get praised. Men get the titles, gifts, praise, and when it comes to sleeping with many women, they gain masculinity. Women should stay at home and wait for their lovers to return. Penelope is an example of a woman who is in fact waiting for her lover to return she says,
“Odysseus my lord among the rest. if he returned, if he were here to care for me,
I might be happily renowned!
But grief instead heaven sent me years of pain.” (19. 150153) If Odysseus were home Penelope would be super happy, but since he isn’t she has to sit around and wait for him. On top of that, Penelope is surrounded by more than a dozen suitors and they all want to marry her. She touches on this in book 19 “Sons of the nobelest families on the islands,
Doulikhion, Same, wooded Zakynthos, with native Ithakans, are here to court me, against my wish; and they consume this house” (154157) She is, with no doubt, staying loyal and she shows a great deal of selfcontrol abstaining from any sort of relationship with the suitors. This does not seem like a great feat, except for the fact that they stayed for 18 years. For 18 years she stayed chaste, she was not found touching another man, yet she was never acknowledged for that. Penelope never went out looking for Odysseus, maybe because she did not want to, or maybe because she would be laughed at if she did. In
The Odyssey women aren’t go getters, they are maids, and wives, and assorted women to sleep with. Women are nothing without a man, the are less than, simply and utterly worthless. Whether they are sleeping with many or being asked to be slept with by many, they are expected to stay home and wait, even if it means waiting for 18 years.
Loyalty is a huge deal in Greek culture, examples of this are shown