Role of Women in Odysseus Essay
In the past, Greece men would consider women inferior to them. Women were not included in any action that was to be undertaken. All important activities were considered to be men’s responsibility to complete the work. This case was completely different when it came to Odyssey. In Holmes’s Odyssey, women are given powering traits that make them very important in all activities that take place in society. These traits can be witnessed through the way in which some women associate themselves with Odysseus. They play important roles that are demanding. Through these powerful character traits that have given to women, Odysseus is able to solve many problems that come across him during his traveling. His relationship with women helps him shape his heroic adventure.
Odysseus has been given heroic traits. His traits are “god-like”. He is wise, crafty, eloquent, and valiant. His long traveling helps him gain much knowledge. He also meets many people from different cultures that make him shape his knowledge of adventure. He learns from his past mistakes. He is seen as a warrior of all warriors in the world. Odysseus’s traits are challenged by temptations from women. These temptations on Odysseus give a clear indication that women in Odyssey play very important roles.
One of the important roles that women play in the Odyssey is the seduction role. Odysseus arrives on Circles Island and all his crew is attracted to women. These women have alluring voices that can pull men closer. These men desire Circle Island very much until they forget that there could be a danger. They love the island’s goddess without knowing her monstrous ability. The goddess tricks these crew members and turns them into swine. Odysseus was very lucky because he was using some drugs as a form of protection. He got this idea from the advice given to him by Hermes. Through power from the drug, he is able to rescue the crew members from Circle’s Island. His encounter with the island’s goddess shows how a woman’s sexuality can be a threat to a man. Odysseus is always sly and resources but he gets lost at times when meets seductive women. Due to the seductive women on the island, Odysseus is infatuated and he stays there for one year. He forgets about his plans until he is convinced by the men to go back. This clearly shows how women’s roles affect Odysseus’ adventure and homecoming in the story.
The importance of gender roles in Odysseus’s adventure is also witnessed when he stays with Kalypso on her island for seven goo years. When he is giving his story on his stay with Kalypso, he does not want to show how he was made a prisoner by the women. He was lamented for all the time he was with the woman. He enjoyed himself with the goddess on the island and the woman’s intention was to offer him immortality. After some time, Odysseus is tired of life on the island and wants to go back home. He misses his wife and homecoming but Kalypso uses some wiles. These wiles convince him to stay back for some while. The goddess thinks that mortal women cannot challenge in build and beauty. He struggles to leave the island but the goddess is forcing him to stay. Forcing a man to stay is against Greek women’s ideals. Kalypso shows her dominant and manipulative side of the character. Her dominant character is a threat to man’s dominance and it is prohibited. Her ability to hold Odysseus shows the ability of women to cause danger in society. This has been used in the story to show how women can be able to prevent men from achieving their goals. Odysseus wants to go back for homecoming but is forced to stay. He wants to have his homecoming but the goddess delays him for seven years. This shows that women are able to change man’s plans.
Odysseus’s relationship with his wife, Penelope, has been used to depict the important roles that women play in Odysseus’s life. In the epic, Penelope is considered the most important character. When Odysseus is away for seven years, he misses Penelope. His main reason for homecoming is to see his wife. Penelope is also the mother of his love. This creates a strong bond between him and his wife. He has been away for a very long time and many people assume he is dead. Some suitors want to replace him by marrying Penelope. Penelope is depicted as faithful to a woman who still believes that her husband will return one day. She does not give in to the temptations that come her way. This shows that Greek ideal women should only be subjected to their men. Although her husband sleeps with many women when he is away, Penelope is still faithful to him back at home. She is able to trick the suitors who come for marriage. She gives them tricky tests in order to evade their intentions of marrying her. She tells the suitor who will marry her is the one who can shoot Odysseus’s bow. These tricks help her avoid being married. This shows how women can manipulate men. This manipulative nature helps Odysseus from being snatched a wife.
The role of women in the story is clearly depicted by the way Odysseus relates to the female characters. These female characters have helped Odysseus throughout his adventure. It is from this Odysseus’s relationship with women where we get to understand some of the women’s ideals in Greece. Despite the evidence of these ideals in the poem, it is hard to judge Greek culture based on women’s roles. These women have been used to show how men are manipulated by beauty. Women trick men using their beauty until they achieve their goals. Women’s intelligence and strength also are shown in the poem through the way they trick men. Most of the activities that women do in this poem help Odysseus in his adventure and homecoming. Through his relationship with women, he is able to survive some challenges during his adventure. He is also manipulated by women tricks until he stays away for seven years. His wife’s faithfulness helps him rejoin his family after being away for seven years.
Fisher, Jerilyn, and Ellen S. Silber. Women in Literature: Reading Through the Lens of Gender. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2003. Internet resource.