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Discuss the roles of women in the Homeric epics. Give specific examples.

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From Greek perception of women, we can generally divide the Homeric women into two types. One is ominous and usually causes man to confront threatening situations. The other presents maternity and peace. The first type is Helen and Briseis in the Iliad; Circe and Calypso in the Odyssey. The second one includes Thetis and Andromache; Penelope and Nausicaa. ...read more.


Circe, a sorceress with magical power, invites Odysseus' crew to a feast and turns them into pigs. Calypso, a sea nymph, imprisons Odysseus in Ogygia for seven years in order to force him to be her immortal husband. The other kind of women has maternal and peaceful status. First, Thetis is concerned about her son Achilles, Andromache about Astyanax, Penelope about Telemachus. ...read more.


We know Odysseus will be safe if he comes through Poseidon's spite and goes back home. Nausicaa, the princess of an isolated country filled with peace, kindly welcomes Odysseus ensuring his return home. In general, the ill female figure in the Homeric epics usually results in the plights of men, especially of heroes; the women are seen as the cause of disorder. However, the modest type of women such as Penelope or Hecuba is a token of peace; they also share another similarity: they stand for the image of motherhood. ...read more.

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