17 February 2013
Role of Women in Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days
In most Greek mythology there is a general hostility towards the female sex, which relays that most poets and writers themselves were sexist. Throughout Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, women are portrayed in a very subservient manner, placing them far below men and are almost despised. However, in more than one instance, manipulation, women’s true power, is shown. They are constantly described as beautiful temptresses, which could be thought of as the weakness of many men. When Theogony and Works and Days are looked at as a whole it is obvious that Hesiod’s opinion of women, most likely shared by the Greeks themselves, is that they are inferior and subordinate to men. While some goddesses are credited for having strength, both mental and physical, and having strong manipulative powers over men, many more are held as mere vessels for carrying the kin of the gods. While Hesiod is describing Zeus’ wives, mistresses and children, it seems that he continues to impregnate numerous goddesses as though he is searching for the perfect genes to make the perfect child, or merely to populate the heavens with his children, all of whom have a different purpose or power. The majority of the text relays the feeling of women being inferior to men; however, their power is still recognized and almost feared. Women’s power is portrayed in several ways throughout Theogony. One example is the goddess Hecate. It is said that, “she has a share of the privileges of all the gods that were ever born of Earth and Heaven (144).” While she does have an insane amount of power, it was Zeus who deemed her worthy of this power, which implies that he could take it away whenever he feels necessary, still giving him the ultimate power. In another instance, Eros, one of the first gods, also known as desire, has a different type of power. As Hesiod states, “and Eros, loveliest of...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document