Athena in Greek Mythology

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  • Topic: Athena, Ancient Greece, Parthenon
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  • Published : June 4, 2011
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The Importance of Athena in Greek Mythology

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Outline
Thesis: Athena is regarded as a powerful female figure within Greek mythology; however there are obvious contradictions between the perception of Athena and the reality of how the goddess is represented within Greek Literature and these contradictions need to be examined given Greek Literatures foundational role in molding our perceptions of a heroine. I. Description how women were viewed in Ancient Greece

II. Common perception of Athena in Greek Mythology
a) Goddess of War
b) Powerful
c) Equal to Zeus
III. Role that Athena truly played as Zeus’s daughter
a) Non threatening: enable the end of Kingship of Heaven
b) Virgin daughter, purity
IV.Examples supporting the repositioning of Athena as a determent to women within Greek culture a) Athena and Poseidon clash over Athens
b) Athena’s mothering role in Odyssey
c) Athena’s role within Aeschylus’s Eumenides
V.Athena’s representation within Greek Mythology has proven to be a false icon for the empowerment of women.

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Abstract
Athena is regarded as a powerful female figure within Greek mythology; however there are obvious contradictions between the perception of Athena and the reality of how the goddess is represented within Greek Literature and these contradictions need to be examined given Greek Literatures foundational role in molding our perceptions of a heroine. The undercurrent of conflicting messages between Athena’s iconic state as a powerful goddess and the general oppression of Greek woman supports the notion that there might be more to Athena then first meets the eye. Common myth and two great works of ancient Greek literature are used to support the thesis that Athena may have been a tool of oppression used against the women of ancient Greece.

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The Importance of Athena in Greek Mythology
The foremost powerful female figure in Greek Mythology was Athena, the grey eyed goddess. She is often hailed as being an icon for female power within Greek literature. This misperception adds to the mystic that Greek civilization was socially evolved beyond it’s time. By taking a closer look at how Athena was immortalized within the Parthenon, the role that the Goddess played in Homer’s Odyssey , and her role in Aeschylus’s Eumenides it quickly becomes clear that we have been romanticizing Athena’s power. By pulling back the curtain on the obvious and revealing what resides just below the surface a new pictures comes into focus. Athena is regarded as a powerful female figure within Greek mythology; however there are obvious contradictions between the perception of Athena and the reality of how the goddess is represented within Greek Literature, and these contradictions need to be examined given Greek Literatures foundational role in molding our perceptions of a heroine. To begin with it is important to come to a agreement regarding the daily life of an Athenian woman in Ancient Greece. Based upon the reading that I have done, there is little dispute that the women of that time had virtually no rights. The Ancient Greek society in many ways mirrors today’s modern conservative cultures of the middles east, as it pertains to women’s rights. The Greek culture was highly patriarchal. Ancient women were considered property of their fathers at the time of their birth, and then transferred to become the property of their husbands directly after marriage. Young women were often forced to marry men twice their age, whom they had never met. Women, of course, had no right to vote, no right to own property and oddly enough were not allowed to watch the iconic Olympic games. However, the most mind numbing realization for me was that women were not allowed to leave the house without permission. Women were not permitted to wonder in public unless they had an explicit reason approved by their husband. It is suspicious to me that given all of these widely...
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