Odysseus’ values and character traits serve as a paradigm of the ideal Homeric Greek adult male. The “god-like Odysseus” is cunning. valiant. wise. and facile. He additions much of his cognition through travel. the meeting of different civilizations and peoples and learns from enduring and errors. He is an blue blood and a warrior of all warriors. We foremost learn of many of these traits in Homer’s Iliad. Agamemnon. the commanding officer of the Grecian ground forces ever calls on Odysseus for assignments that required person craft and brilliant. Agamemnon sends Odysseus to inquire Achilles to return to the ground forces and sends him with Diomedes into the Trojan cantonment to achieve information. Odysseus has to be sly and promptly so the Trojans do non catch him. Homer describes them as “two king of beastss stalking through the slaughter and the cadavers. ” ( Book X. Line 297 ) However. these traits and Odysseus’ ability are invariably challenged by the enticement of adult females. In the Odyssey. countless illustrations of such enticement reflect the importance of gender and the function of adult females. Odysseus’ legion interactions with adult females make this influence clear.
A premier illustration of the importance of the functions of adult females in the Odyssey is their functions as seductresses. When Odysseus’ crew arrives on Circe’s island. they are attracted to Circe’s house because of the beguiling voice of the beautiful but monstrous goddess. Homer describes her as “singing in a sweet voice as she went up and down a great design on a loom. immortal such as goddesses have. delicate and lovely and glorious in their work. ” ( Book X. Line 221 ) Odysseus’ work forces respond to this by naming onto her and come ining her house. The men’s desire for Circe allows the goddess to work their failings. flim-flam them and as if by magic turn them into swine. Odysseus. merely. with the aid of a protective drug and advice provided by Hermes. goes to deliver his work forces from Circe’s island.
He follows Hermes’ exact instructions and when the goddess efforts to strike him with her blade. he lunges at her. Odysseus draws his blade and says. “Swear me a great curse that there is no other evil injury you devise against me. ” ( Homer. Book X. Line 344 ) Homer has Odysseus pull his blade at this minute ; possibly he aims to demo how a woman’s entreaty and gender is a menace to male laterality. Such interactions between work forces and adult females add a certain dynamic to the heroic poem and do it more interesting and easier for the reader to place with the narrative. Although. Odysseus is really sly and resourceful. many times even he finds himself lost when he is in these types of state of affairss with seductive adult females. Odysseus was so enamored with Circe that he remained on her island for a twelvemonth. wholly burying about his “nostos” or homecoming. until his work forces convinced him to go forth.
Another minute when we see the importance of gender to the undertaking of the Odyssey is during Odysseus’ seven-year stay with Kalypso on her island. When Odysseus relays the the narrative of Kalypso. he changes the narrative somewhat to give the perceptual experience that he was held captive and lamented the full clip he was at that place. However. Homer gives us some penetration when he says ; “the nymph was no longer delighting to him. ” ( Book V. Line 153 ) which implies that at some point Odysseus did bask himself with the goddess on the island. Kalypso offered him immortality and a life of easiness. When Odysseus was exhausted with this life style and longed for his married woman and homecoming. Kalypso tried to utilize her trickeries to convert him to remain with her. She compares herself to Odysseus’ married woman Penelope stating. “I think I can claim that I am non her inferior either in physique or stature. since it is non likely that mortal adult females can dispute the goddesses for physique and beauty. ” ( Book V. Line 211 ) When Odysseus still longs to return place. Kalypso forces him to remain on the island.
This is against the ideals of Homeric Greek adult females. Kalypso displays a dominant and manipulative side. which is another menace against male laterality. Kalypso’s ability to hinder Odysseus’ ocean trip for seven old ages. signifies the belief that powerful adult females can make danger. In this state of affairs. Homer tells us. if a adult female does non accept her topographic point as an impuissant being. she is likely to decelerate down or forestall a adult male from making his ends. The Homeric Greek work forces consider adult females valuable but merely to fulfill their physical demands. Zeus finally sends Hermes as a courier to command Kalypso to let Odysseus to return place. Kalypso complains that the Gods are allowed to take mortal lovers while person ever interferes with the personal businesss of the goddesses. Kalypso complains about this dual criterion but finally meets Zeus’ petition. This is an first-class illustration of the male biased Homeric Greek society.
Odysseus’ relationship with his married woman Penelope is another clear manifestation of gender functions within Homer’s heroic poem. Penelope is the most of import female character in the heroic poem. Odysseus’ homecoming is centered on his love for her. She is non merely his married woman. but besides the female parent of his boy. Telemachus. Since Odysseus has non returned from the war and is presumptively dead. many suers desire to replace him. by taking Penelope’s manus in matrimony and Odysseus’ belongings. While we are diffident of Penelope’s attitudes towards these suers. we are invariably reminded of her fidelity to Odysseus. Penelope must non give in to the enticement of her many suers to guarantee that Odysseus has a successful homecoming. Although Odysseus does non cognize whether Penelope remains devoted to him. the heroic poem would be pointless if he had given up so much to return to a broken place. This state of affairs one time once more brings up the inquiry of a dual criterion posed in the Odyssey. Odysseus is permitted to kip with many of the nymphs he encounters. but Penelope must be faithful and delay for him. This can be interpreted as reconstructing the Homeric Greek ideal of adult females being low-level to work forces.
Analyzing this state of affairs from a different position. nevertheless. it is possible that Penelope’s sole ground for staying loyal to Odysseus is to asseverate her independency and non to populate up to this criterion. Penelope has three options: she can remarry. return to her father’s place to be under his attention. or delay for the homecoming of her hubby. Her boy. Telemachus is technically the adult male of the house but he lacks the bravery and experience to run the family. Her suers were able to assume his power. Penelope proves to be shrewd. much like her hubby. when she tricks the suers. claiming that she will take one one time she finishes a burial shroud for Laertes. her father-in-law. Every dark she undoes the weaving she has done for the twenty-four hours. This trick works until some of her house retainers catch her. Another illustration of this hocus-pocus. is her promise to get married any suer that can thread and hit Odysseus’s bow. It is likely that Penelope knew no 1 but Odysseus could make this. There are many different readings of Penelope’s function as a adult female in this minute of the heroic poem. It is possible that she restores the ideal Grecian adult female. but I prefer to believe that Homer. one time once more. was seeking to demo the manipulative nature of adult females as Penelope exhibits many of the great attributes that Odysseus. a adult male. possesses.
It is interesting to analyse the gender problematic in the Odyssey through the lens of the functions of adult females in this heroic poem. This heroic poem is dependent on the function of adult females. It is hard to wholly judge the beliefs about the gender functions in Grecian civilization based entirely on the Odyssey. At times. the functions and actions of adult females in this verse form demo the male chauvinist position. that they are objects of beauty and have to yield to use and hocus-pocus to carry through a end. There are other times when a woman’s strength and intelligence come through. Homer uses this interplay to do the heroic poem more interesting and develops an implicit in subject of a conflict of the sexes.