Women of the Odyssey
The Women of the Odyssey Lots of people concern Homer’s impressives as war stories? stories about men; those people typically ignore the crucial functions that women play in the Odyssey. While there are not many female characters in the Odyssey, the couple of that there are, play essential functions in the story and one can gain a lot of insight by analyzing how those ladies are depicted. Homer represents the women in contradictory methods: the characters of Athena and Eurykleia are provided strong, exceptional roles while Melantho, the Sirens and Circe are portrayed in a lot more negative method.
Penelope? the central female character? is provided both negative and positive attributes. Athena, the grey-eyed goddess of knowledge and battle, has a soft area for Odysseus and Telemachos. The action begins with a meeting of the gods, where Athena makes a plea on behalf of Odysseus, asking her daddy, “Why, Zeus, are you now so severe with him?” (I, 62). This action, paired with another intervention into a meeting of the gods, reveals Athena’s initiative and nerve, two characteristics which would have been considerably appreciated by Homer’s audience.
Athena likewise reveals cleverness and resourcefulness when she disguises herself and others on a number of events: The goddess initially appears as Mentes, and then later as Mentor, Telemachos himself, Penelope’s sister, a friend of Nausikaa’s, and various servants. Not only is she a master of disguises, but Athena has an amazing sense of when it is needed to appear as someone else in order to attain her objectives. While perhaps simply an item of Athena’s goddess status, her capability to view the “big picture” is quite an extremely related to trait.
Athena also has the virtue of restraint which she shows when she does not participate in the final battle in between Odysseus and Telemachos and the suitors. In addition to Athena’s capabilities and qualities, the qualities which she herself values offer great insight into her own virtues. For example, she thinks about hospitality to be of great significance. This is shown several times in the Odyssey: first, when she arrives in Ithaka and is received so well by Telemachos, and a 2nd time when she helps Odysseus by acquiring the favor of Arete and Nausicaa.
Athena is likewise really concerned with magnificence, which becomes clear when she sends out Telemachos on his voyages with the main purpose to mature so that he does “not go on holding on to [his] childhood” (I, 296-7). She does not appear to think about that the trip could be unsafe; it is more crucial that he become a male and attain magnificence. While Athena is divine, she is still a central female character and the method which she is represented makes an effect on the method Homer’s females are viewed.
Another female who is represented in an extremely positive light is Odysseus’ and Telemachos’ old nurse, Eurykleia. Eurykleia is repeatedly revealed to be noble and extraordinarily devoted. Laertes, Odysseus’ dad, in truth, favored her as much as his own wife. Likewise, Homer states that she likes Telemachos more than any other servant does. These traits are exceptional and again show the female as virtuous. Like Penelope, Eurykleia is referred to as “shining amongst ladies”; a quality which, while not precisely virtuous, is positive.
Homer also offers Eurykleia characteristics which are stereotypically male. She is commanding and can keep the other servants in line: “she spoke, and they listened well to her, and obeyed?” (XX, 157). Eurykleia plays a bit part, but still adds to the beneficial view of ladies in the Odyssey. Other women in the Odyssey are not represented along with Athena and Eurykleia. Melantho, for example, is one of the wrong maids in Ithaka. She is rude and inhospitable to Odysseus when he is disguised as a beggar.
She states to him: “Sorrowful stranger, you must be one whose wits are sidetracked, when you will not go where the smith is at work, and sleep there, or to some public gathering place, but staying here speak out boldly?” (XVIII, 327-330). She is likewise unappreciative of all that Penelope has done? unappreciative of the hospitality she has actually been revealed, a virtue greatly valued by the Greeks. Penelope has taken Melantho in and took care of her like a child and still Melantho disregards this and is rude to Penelope’s guest.
Other maids in the house of Odysseus show disrespectful and disobedient habits when they sleep with some of Penelope’s own suitors. One, in reality, betrays Penelope by informing the suitors of her scheme of weaving and after that unraveling Laertes’ funeral shroud. These ladies are more than represented in an unfavorable light; they taint the audience’s understanding of all ladies in the story. The female characters now seem petty and unthoughtful. Throughout Odysseus’ voyage home, he must face a number of obstacles? a number of which are female.
Kalypso, goddess-nymph, keeps Odysseus on her island for practically ten years, and in doing so, keeps him from returning house to Penelope and Ithaka. Family is obviously a vital part of the Odyssey, so again, Kalypso is another woman being portrayed negatively. In a similar situation, Circe, goddess of Aiaia, is likewise portrayed as an unvirtuous lady, keeping Odysseus from his house and household. Circe attempts to cast a spell on Odysseus, but when she stops working and is threatened, she rapidly retreats and offers to become Odysseus’ mistress, encouraging Odysseus to stay there for a year (XX, 466).
This really action presents the audience with one of the worst female stereotypes: fickleness. The last female obstacles which Odysseus must deal with are the Sirens? whose sexy tunes draw sailors to their death. While Odysseus is able to avoid the Sirens, they symbolize temptation, another non-virtue which is then related to ladies in the audiences’ minds. The main female character, Penelope, wife of Odysseus, is presented with inconsistent qualities. Agamemnon explains her as “all too virtuous” and states that her mind is saved with good thoughts (XII, 446).
Penelope is committed, resourceful, clever, and scrupulous, or prudent. Numerous times in the text Penelope specifies that she has been sobbing considering that the day Odysseus left, and yet she still wishes for and anticipates his return. Since of that, she needs to discover some way to avoid the suitors. She cleverly chooses a strategy where she can delay marrying any of the suitors: she informs them that she will wed one when she ends up weaving the funeral shroud for Laertes, but all the while is unwinding her day’s work every night. As stated in the past, she is revealed by one of her maids.
She is creative with avoiding the suitors once again later on in the story when she produces a strategy to choose who to marry: “the one who takes [Odysseus’] bow in his hands, strings it with the greatest ease, and sends out an arrow clean through all the twelve axes shall be the one I disappear with?” (XIX, 576-9). Penelope needs to know that just Odysseus can string the weapon. “Circumspect Penelope” likewise has a great view on what is right or incorrect. For example, she never ever goes anywhere alone; she always takes a house maid or more with her due to the fact that she believes it would be immodest to be without a? haperone’ (XVIII, 184). Penelope also has the great qualities of being well-spoken and a gracious person hosting; nevertheless, those traits are not as prominent as her others and are not as relentless. Penelope likewise has traits which put her in a far more negative light; she is seen as overly-emotional, indecisive and in rejection about Odysseus’ return. Penelope is consistently described as weeping up until Athena brings sleep. Also, Telemachos makes Eurykleia promise not to inform his mom that he is leaving for he understands that it will greatly distress her.
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She is viewed as indecisive in the sense that she never ever outright refuses to wed any of the suitors and leads them on to an extent (I, 245). Finally, while the audience is definitely supportive to Penelope’s sorrow, it has actually been twenty years since she has actually seen Odysseus and ten given that she expected him to return. Even Odysseus himself told her that if he did not return, she had his approval to wed once again when Telemachos was grown. The reality that she has not done so and has not made any progress towards that end provides her an unfavorable image, consequently affecting the image of all females in the Odyssey.
The inconsistent views of females presented by Homer, and the complexities of all main characters in the Odyssey, show that Homer had a very good sense about humanity. Not all ladies are virtuous and exceptional, but not all ladies do not have positive virtues; and obviously, some ladies can not fit either extreme. Even the characters he sets up as role models are not best. Homer’s works have actually been so successful throughout history mostly because of that, I believe. Regardless, the Odyssey is an interesting study of humanity and an exciting story of homecoming.