The significance of female characters in the progressof Homer's novel The Odyssey
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By Henri Robben The significance of female characters in the progress of Homer's novel The Odyssey Women are very important figures in Homer's The Odyssey. Athena and Penelope are the two primary examples. They help Odysseus in his travels in many ways through the story. They keep the reader interested so that they keep reading to find out what will happen next. Throughout the novel, they appear in many different forms. In this epic, several female characters had a profound effect on the plot. They wielded their influence through typically feminine skills and attributes: seduction, supernatural powers, intelligence, and beauty. Some of the women of The Odyssey influenced the actions of men, playing key roles in the epics, such as Athena, Penelope, Calypso, the Sirens, Helen, or Circe; all have been true, and in actuality, may be an entertaining interpretation of an actual Trojan War. Since the Trojan War supposedly started because of a dispute between the gods and mortals, the Trojan War probably started because of a reason other than the reason Homer gives. If Homer were a woman, then he would have directed his audience into believing that women were at a higher level than men were by use of his epics.
Athena spoke stating,'men of Ithaca, cease this dreadful war, and settle the matter at once without further bloodshed.' Then Zeus sent a lighting bolt that struck in front of Athena, so Athena said to Odysseus, 'Odysseus, noble son of Laertes, stop this battle, or Zeus will be angry with you.' Then Odysseus gladly agreed, and in the voice and form of Mentor she made a covenant of peace between the two parties. Though she has not seen Odysseus in twenty years, and despite pressure the suitors place on her to remarry, Penelope never loses faith in her husband. Her cares make her somewhat flighty and excitable, however. For this reason, Odysseus, Telemachus, and Athena often prefer to leave her in the dark about matters rather than upset her. Athena must distract her, for instance, so that she does not discover Odysseus's identity when Eurycleia is washing him. Athena often comes to her in dreams to reassure or comfort her, for Penelope would otherwise spend her nights weeping in her bed. Though her love for Odysseus is unyielding, she responds to the suitors with some indecision. She never refuses to remarry outright. Instead, she puts off her decision and leads them on with promises that she will choose a new husband as soon as certain things happen.
These literature works gave many possibilities of definition of heroism. The Greeks illustrated heroism to obey the rules laid down by the gods and goddesses, and those who obey the rules would gain honor and fame. The Greeks regarded intelligence as one of the highest gifts that all heroes must posses. The Greeks required that all heroes must have courage and die a horrible death. We know him less from what he thought, which was seldom revealed, than by what he says and did, and his actions follow naturally from his characteristics. If the cunning of Odysseus is mentioned more than his courage, it was his courage that gets him into the scrapes from which his cunning had to deliver him. Odysseus had the all the qualities that the Greek tradition required of all heroes, which were obey the rules of gods, posses intelligence, and displayed courage. He was made a hero thanks to his own characteristics however, with out the guidance of Athena, his longing to be at home with his wife again and the intervention of women on his journey, he would only be a hero by myth not by what he has achieved through the trouble of getting home due to the women he has encountered.
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