Friday, October 18, 2019

Women in Greek Mythology Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2000 words

Women in Greek Mythology - Essay Example In Greek mythology, women are seldom considered in isolation from men, though critics consider important exceptions below, and they seldom have scope for action on their own initiative. According to Dillon (2002): Numerous oppositions in the ways in which Women were categorised, often determined by their role in society, and also their ethnic origin, are reflected in the various dichotomies of citizen wife/foreign woman, slave/free, prostitute/wife, girl/woman, and woman priest/woman sorcerer, to name some, all of which could overlap, and influenced how, why, when and where they gave expression to their religious beliefs (5). Mostly, females are either (a) children, (b) nubile maidens or (c) married. What is absent from this female career structure is any stage between initiation and marriage - the stage which allows the male to become a warrior, prove himself and discover himself: men marry later than women (Dillon 2002). Widows are mostly ignored and single women cannot be allowed to exist, except for goddesses like Circe and Kalypso in the Odyssey. For instance, "Hera is most typically a goddess of women, and it is for that reason that she is on occasion worshipped as Maid, Wife, and Widow, the last title giving no little trouble to interpreters of her myths in classical times, seeing that her husband was immortal" (Rose 1991, 103). In Greek mythology, womanhood is depicted through religious ritual and values followed by women characters. It is not surprising that religious dogmas became the code of behavior for women who needed strong arguments to prove their decisions. Gods are supposed to be temperate, diligent, loyal, hard-working, and cheerful. Although the religion women's responsibility for one's destination in the next life and one's fortunes in this, the individuals form a tight-knit and strongly. The above picture is supported with a number of important cases of religious domination remaining important because it continues to serve a variety of important social functions. The realization that a woman has to devote herself to husband and live according to the values was typical for all mortal women. Even if women want to be equal to men they would never talk about this with their husband. Such behavior considered typical for this epoch (Lefkowitz, 1986). A special attention was given to the role of marriage. For instance, Orestes acquires his entitlement to the throne of Sparta by marriage with Menelaos' daughter, Hermione. Menelaos came to the throne through his marriage with Tyndareus' daughter, Helen. Odysseus' winning of Ikarios' daughter, Penelope, has a high profile in the mythology - a myth which Homer, in his characteristic way, replays through the perverted attempt of the suitors to win Penelope's hand in Ithaka. In these cases the succession to the throne passes via a woman. This is not 'matriarchy', for women are not queens in their own rite, nor is it 'matrilinearity' (Rosaldo, Lamphere 1974), for power passes via daughters and wives, not mothers. Indeed the marriage is called into existence precisely because the daughter cannot wield power herself. This belongs in the broader Greek cultural picture of the

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