Examples Of Heroism In The Odyssey

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Gender Equality and Heroism: The Great Debate Despite their heroic efforts and urge to not give into societal norms established by the patriarchal society in which they live, women’s actions are mostly left unnoticed by the men who rule the places in which they live. In examining The Odyssey, Hecuba, and Genesis one can begin to see how women (despite their heroic actions) were often looked past because of their gender. While women in these texts may possess heroic qualities and perform brave deeds, the title of hero is almost never given to female characters, because the patriarchal societies in which these women live do not allow women to rise to a position of power. Because heroism is in its essence a kind of assertion of power, in patriarchal…show more content…
She has many heroic qualities to her. Despite not knowing if her husband is dead or alive she stays loyal to him on his long voyage home from war even though many men are constantly in her house eating her food and drinking her wine. Her loyalty is courageous because many people would have just given up and accepted that their husband is probably never going to come home. She remains vigilant and loyal to the cause that her heart and soul are truly focused on. Penelope is at constant battle with her heart, brain and the suitors constantly, allowing herself to become weak but she never does. While Penelope should be considered a hero for her constant bravery, loyalty to Ithaca and her husband, and wisdom she is overlooked because women are second to Greek warriors. The masculine nature of heroism is important in Greek society which prevents women such as Penelope from achieving the status of hero. Men in Greek society are typically seen as the brute force warriors whom fight in wars and die for their country. The only man we see not depicted as purely brawn is Odysseus who is Penelope’s husband. However, his brains are seen as manipulation for battle, a type of strategic wisdom which always helps win the battle, while Penelope’s wisdom while very similar to Odysseus’ is normally portrayed as stubbornness. Her tricks with the burial cloth and ways of tricking the suitors into…show more content…
Her first deed of bravery is her willingness to sacrifice herself so Polyxena can live and have a chance to have a better life. Knowing that death is final and that slavery (however difficult) can have ways out of it, Hecuba offers up her life for the slight chance that Polyxena may have a good future one day. She is fighting for her family and remains loyal to this cause. However, she cannot fully fight for what she wants because her wishes are denied by Odysseus where he states to Hecuba that, “Your daughter’s death is sufficient, and one death must not be added to another; we don’t owe yours.” (Hecuba 395) Odysseus is using his upper hand as the male figure in a higher position to disregard Hecuba’s brave attempt at heroism. While a modern day reader may read Hecuba’s actions as being heroic, in the text they are disregarded by the male figures as ignorant acts of rebellion. However, Hecuba vows revenge for the death of her son Polydorus. In Ancient Greek society revenge was normally something done by the men, while grieving and preparing for the burial was typically a woman’s job. The act of Hecuba wishing to seek revenge on Polydorus’ murderer is typically seen as Hecuba being a hero. Although, there is some debate to Hecuba’s label of hero in order to avenge the death of her children. Hecuba must beg Agamemnon to be able to avenge her children, “Without this man I

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