Role of Women in Greek Myth

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The role of women in ancient Greek life was insignificant compared to that of Greek men. A woman's job was to take care of the children and to cook and clean unless she had servants or slaves that would do it for her. Yet, in Greek mythology, women were often written as major characters. Well-known Greek plays contain many well-written, complex, female characters. Female individuals in Greek mythology were often seen as very powerful and fierce and were depicted by “her wits, her beauty, or her bad deeds.” To start off we have Helen of Troy, a mortal woman, thought to be one of the most beautiful in her time. She left her husband Menelaus of Sparta for Paris of Troy and because of that and her beauty a 10 year war surged between Sparta and Troy; “…she left behind the din of clashing shields and spears, as the war fleets armed. Taking with her a dowry of destruction, she strode swiftly through that city’s gates, daring what must not be dared” (Agamemnon 4003-408). Thousands of men died while she sat in her castle. It goes to show how powerful a woman’s beauty can be. We then have Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon and queen of Argos. Clytemnestra was described as “a woman with a man’s heart” (Agamemnon 11); she was depicted as a very brutal and treacherous woman but she was also very intelligent. Clytemnestra knew how intelligent she was and even proved it to the Argive elders, in line 351 of the play Agamemnon the y tell her “[she speaks] wisely like a man of discretion.” She becomes fixated on obtaining justice for her daughter’s wrongful murder, “…my mind never sleeps, and with the help of the gods I will set things right” (Agamemnon 912-913). Agamemnon had scarified their daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis to stop the storm he was in when he was on his way to Troy. So Clytemnestra murdered her husband to avenge her daughter's death, her “labor of love”. Clytemnestra felt that her act was justified and states in detail how she killed her husband without...
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