Women's Roles in the Odyssey

Topics: Odyssey, Odysseus, Trojan War Pages: 3 (1324 words) Published: October 4, 2007
Women play a significant role in the text that forms an important part of The Odyssey, an epic written by Homer in the 7th century B.C. Within the poem there are three basic types of women: the goddess, the seductress, and the good hostess/wife. Each role helps to create a different kind of element and is essential to the completion of the story. The first female in the Odyssey to be seen in full effect is the beautiful goddess. Although she is a supernatural being in all of the epic poem she is in a position to pity the mortals, which in turn puts in her a position to stay by Odyssey' side to help him throughout his long journey back home. Athena is the most eminent example of this role; at the beginning of the book she is seen begging Odysseus to return back to his home. Athena after this point helps Odysseus throughout his entire journey back to Ithaca, his homeland, after twenty years of battling in Troy. Athena, goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice, and skill, is the propulsive force behind assembling Odysseus' return home after becoming captured by Kalypso, daughter of Atlas. Athena helps Odysseus bribe Kalypso to release him and making sure Nausikaa, daughter of King Alkinoos, found him on the mainland of Skheria. Within books 1-4 Athena also extends a helping hand to Telemakhos, Odysseus' son, gain the courage and strength to finally realize that he must go out and gather news about his father and his return. Besides the goddess Athena, there were many examples of goddesses having pity for the mortals, usually Odysseus, and helping him throughout his struggle to Ithaca. Poseidon didn't really care for Odysseus and eventually in the epic sent a huge storm in the ocean that would eventually wipe out most of his men. While Odysseus is suffering in the storm, Ino, a Nereid, gives him an immortal veil that helps him keep his life. Even Kirke and Kalypso help Odysseus tremendously with gathering enough information and supplies to make his...
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