The Treatment of Women in Greek Mythology
The treatment of women in Greek mythology is very troubling. Throughout Greek mythology, women were considered and treated as inferior and troublesome symbols, while men were known for courage, leadership, and strength. Women were expected to be submissive. The role of women has never reached true equality with men. Once a woman was married, she was under the control of her husband. Prior to that, her father or a male relative served as her guardian. As a result of this, people automatically assumed that women played no role in Ancient Greek society at all, which is not true at all. The women of greek mythology are strong, intelligent individuals who outsmarted the men in their stories. The main females in the stories that we have read-- “The Odyssey,” “Lystraia,” and “The Aeneid,”-- Penelope, Lystraia, Dido, and other women were treated as though they were pawns and puppets.
In the Greek story, “The Odyssey,” Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, was treated and perceived as weak and is paid attention to only because of her position. Because she has a kingdom, with a husband that everyone believes is dead, she has suitors crowding around her day and night. Being a woman in Greek mythology, Penelope has no control over what the suitors do and cannot get rid of them. The suitors just want her because of the wealth and her kingdom. From the “The Role of Women in the Art of Ancient Greece,” she was very intelligent, loyal, and devoted, and she knew how to put a man to the test. Penelope outsmarted the suitors by putting on an act by weeping all the time waiting for her husband to return home. Penelope, "always with her the wretched nights and days also waste her away with her weeping." (336) Also, she provided the test of the bow not to find which suitor was best, but to find which one was Odysseus. Lastly, she devised tricks to delay her suitors, one of which is to pretend to “wove the mighty cloth, and then at night by torchlight, she unwove it” to delay the process and claiming that she will choose a suitor when she has finished. (337)
In the play “Lysistrata” and in Greek mythology, women in the ancient world had few rights in comparison to male citizens. “The Portrayal of Women in Ancient Greek Mythology,” by Professor Dessa Meehan of Western Washington University, states that “Cultural portrayal of women in ancient Greek mythology is both a representation of and an influence on the treatment or place of Greek women within society. Men were in charge; women, even those of a comparable status, were never seen as equal to their male counterparts.” Male citizens held all of the political power, while women enjoyed relatively few rights and privileges. There is a constant power struggle...