Women Portrayed in Homer’s The Odyssey

Women Portrayed in Homer’s The Odyssey

Women were very important to the Greeks, and they showed this value in many ways. In The Odyssey Homer shows us the different ways women were looked upon through female characters, such as Penelope, Naussica, and Anticlia. With Penelope, a faithful and loving wife to Odysseus, Homer reveals to us how the Greeks believed wives should act. She was loyal to Odysseus the entire time he was away on his journey, and even when it appeared as if he had passed on she still had faith that he would return.

She resisted the suitors on the sole basis that she loved Odysseus and could not see herself with another man when he could still be alive. She was smart, and cunning. She shows us this in Book II when we learn she has avoided having to choose a husband by telling the suitors she would choose one of them once she finished the garment she was weaving. She would work all day, and remove the stitches by candlelight while the suitors slept. . Penelope was the picture of a perfect, devoted Greek wife. Homer also portrayed the loyal daughter type using Naussica, the young princess of Scheria and daughter of King Alcinous.

Like most daughters from the Greek civilization, she thought the world of her parents, and they thought the world of her as well. We see that she thinks highly of her father because she refers to him as her “excellent father” and tells Odysseus about everything her father can give to him. Her father seems to be wrapped around her finger. Alcinous offered Odysseus her hand in marriage without consulting with her first and Naussica had no problem with this. It is what was expected of her. The duty of a Greek daughter is to obey her father and mother no matter what.

In The Odyssey, through Naussica, Homer illustrates this quite well. In the epic The Odyssey we see how the Greeks looked upon different sorts of women. Wives and daughters were to be loyal, and mothers sometimes suffered. Greek women didn’t have much freedom, or choice in their lives, and Homer shows this to us well. The Greeks had many different views of women. The one that sticks out in my mind though, is the view that women are to obey. Though these three characters, Homer illustrates that view, and other views as well.

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