Essay on Revenge in 'The Odyssey'

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An assorted number of women have a very important and influential role in the Odyssey, which for most of the poem, is about Odysseus's adventures and his voyage to come home, a journey complicated by women and their interests. The women in The Odyssey are a great example of what women in ancient Greek culture went through. For the Greeks, The Odyssey was more than just an amusing story about adventure, intrigue, and revenge, but a cultural model or example that showed human relationships. By examining the female characters of The Odyssey, one can understand the role of women in this story. Even with the belief that women played a secondary part to men in Greek culture, the female characters blossomed and showed us traits that could never be shown by the males. Even though the men take part in the most important roles in the story, there is no denying that without the support of women, Odysseus would not have survived his journey.

Within the poem, we are presented with three main types of women: the goddess, the seductress, and the good hostess/wife. Each individual female character adds a different element and is vital to the telling of the poem. The goddesses play very insistent, controlling roles in The Odyssey. The most powerful woman in the poem is Athena, as she makes things happen during pretty much the entire book. The role of a goddess is not only to be a supernatural being but to be in a position to feel bad and lend a helping hand to the mortals. Athena, being the goddess of battle, understands Odysseus’ point of view and always does her best to aid him in even the hardest of situations. Athena is confident, practical, very smart, and very ingenious. She exemplifies strength, courage, and justice, all traits that are crucial to Odysseus’ success. The reader is fully aware that Athena was the major reason that Odysseus was able to come home safely. Let’s also not forget about Calypso and Cire, the seductresses. Because of them, Odysseus’ journey is set back plenty of years. In the islands of Cire and Calypso, some of Odysseus’ hardest battles were. In comparison to fights with literally anyone else, sexual conundrums are often much harder to win. They are beautiful but conniving, and I believe they represent temptation and raw sexuality.

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Among the mortals, there are also plenty of perceptive and strong female characters such as Helen, Arete, and Nausicaa. Arete is Nausicaa’s mother and is naturally very intelligent and independent. Arete was the woman who helped Odysseus out when he was in need of shelter and clothing back in Phaecia. Arete was the one who insisted that Odysseus stay with them no questions asked. Her daughter Nausicaa is also very kind and delightful. She is the daughter of a king with fantasies of her future wedding and other childish daydreams. She represents all that is pristine, innocent, and noble in the world.

Without a doubt the most important woman of the poem is Penelope. She proves to be a fundamental part of the story by digging deeper and investigating the roles of her as a mother to Telemachus and wife to her beloved Odysseus. Her character in the poem reveals how a common wife may have been treated back in those days in Greek culture. Penelope has all the man-made attributes of a desirable Greek woman: loyalty, humbleness, and fertility. For many years she had to wait for Odysseus to return home, and with all those suitors it couldn’t have been easy to remain faithful. Penelope proves to be one of the most complex characters in the poem. At first, she was portrayed as meek, frail, and submissive, but later proved to be strong and cunning. I think her character growth during the book was a marvelous thing to witness.

It is no secret that women have been treated very differently than men in the past. In ancient Greece, men were considered far superior to women. Not very many women, if any, had important roles in that time period, but that’s where The Odyssey was so revolutionary. The women in this book did not play complimentary roles but instead were some of the most important and influential voices of the whole book. Women in this book were powerful and wise, charming and controlling men left and right. They provided loyalty and advice when the men needed it most, and most importantly, they came to prove that maybe women and men aren’t so far apart after all.

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Essay on Revenge in ‘The Odyssey’. (2023, December 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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