Women Portrayal in Bible V.S the Aenied

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Women—Support or Burden?

Women play important roles in both The Bible and The Aeneid; however, because of cultural differences, they are portrayed distinctly from one another. In The Bible, women are usually associated with helpfulness, whereas women in The Aeneid are often associated with absurdness and lust. The authors’ portrayals of women in each text differ in such that women in The Bible hold powers that are crucial as they represent Jesus’s supporters throughout his journey, while women in The Aeneid are the obstacles that hinder men from proceeding their duties. Thus, while men are achieving success, women are the backbones and necessary in the Christian community, whereas women are insignificant and obstacles that prohibit men from success in the Roman community.

In the Gospel of Mark, women have positive contribution toward Jesus’s life, while respect resides in the relationship between Jesus and women. In Book 14, while in Simon’s house, a woman pours a jar of ointment on Jesus’s head, illustrating Jesus’s holy figure as the ointment is priced highly. Such action depicts Jesus as a god-like figure, as well as the power that rests within the woman in which she chooses to praise Jesus. While applying ointment on Jesus, the woman recognizes and legitimizes Jesus’s special existence, which is extremely important in Jesus’s life, since he is indicated to be the Messiah. Furthermore, in Book 15, when Jesus is hanged on the crucifix, “there were also women looking on from a distance...These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee.” (Mark, 5.40-41) At this instance, the faith that the women has for Jesus reveals their respects toward him, and the fact that the author focuses on having only women in the audience suggests that women withhold the persistence that men seem to lack. Moreover, in Book 16, when Jesus resurrects, “he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.” (Mark, 16.9) Such a detail is significant because Mary, after Jesus casts out the seven demons in her, becomes loyal and devoted to him; as a result, the fact that Mary is the first person Jesus chooses to see illustrates not only mutual respect between them, but also the power that women hold as Jesus’s supporters, in which he acknowledges it. Thus, through Jesus’s interaction with women, the author suggests that women are the backbones to men’s success in the Christian community and one cannot live without the other.

In contrast to The Bible, women in The Aeneid are the challenges that men stumble upon in their journeys to success. For example, Dido sets herself as Aeneas’s first obstacle in his journey to Rome, setting aside Juno with her indirect interferences. Although infatuated by Venus’s spell, in Book 6, Dido’s cold and fiery response to Aeneas in the underworld suggests that she is holding grudge against Aeneas due to his departure, which indicates that her love toward Aeneas partially comes out of her own will. Moreover, since Sychaeus recently passed away, Dido’s love demonstrates women’s unfaithfulness in marriage and to men. While representing disloyalty, Dido also attempt to prevent Aeneas from traveling to Rome by using love as a binding. Furthermore, in the poem, Helen and Lavinia are treated as objects, where Helen is the cost of the Trojan War and Lavinia is the prize to the victor of the Italian-Trojan War. In Book 12, before Turnus sets off to the battlefield, he proclaims, “the war will be decided by our blood; the bride Lavinia will be won upon that field.” (The Aeneid, 12.107-109) Through this quote, it is apparent that Turnus treats Lavinia as if she’s a prize, an object, that lacks her own free will; Turnus’s action further demotes the relationship between men and women in the eyes of Romans. Moreover, Lavinia being the prize to the war disorient the purpose to the war and causes Turnus to act irrationally and out of his passion for Lavinia. On top of that, in comparison with The Bible, women have little...
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