A Closer Look At Aphrodite In Homer's Odyssey

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Known as a heavily patriarchal society, the importance of male dominance over females is apparent in Greek mythology. Yet, Aphrodite goes against this ideal because she has tremendous influence over all the Olympians besides the maiden goddesses. In the Theogony and Homeric Hymns, the poets gave Aphrodite different backstories which provides insight into the gender roles in Ancient Greece. The poet in Homeric Hymn 5 describes Aphrodite as Zeus’ daughter to portray the ideal father-daughter relationship. As the goddess of sex, Aphrodite “rouses sweet desire among the immortals” (Homeric Hymns 5a) and easily “[unites] [Zeus] with mortal women” (Homeric Hymn 5a). Zeus, who is the reigning Olympian who was never unseated, is susceptible to the powers of his daughter. Unsatisfied with this power…show more content…
It is interesting that Hesiod chose to have all the gods be descendents of a maternal figure. Gaia is an important figure because the immortals would not exist without her. Despite the significance of this female, women are considered useless because they “[understand] nothing, bad or good. The only thing she knows how to do is eat” (Semonides 23-25). Compared to Semonides’ poem, Hesiod’s Theogony is more pro-female because Aphrodite is born “where [the genitals of Ouranos] floated a long time” (Theogony 190), which means she is a primordial deity. From the hierarchy seen in Greek mythology, it seems like the older gods are given more respect because they are seen as wiser individuals. Since Aphrodite is older than the other Olympians, she has tremendous power that even Zeus cannot escape. Hesiod’s choice to make Aphrodite older than the other Olympians indicates the conflicting viewpoints of gender roles in Classical Greece. It is true that women were considered inferior to men, but society would collapse because reproduction and childbirth is impossible without them. Rather

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