Penelope And Phaedr The Power Of Women In Ancient Literature

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Even though women held an entirely contrasting position in society compared to men, they help a certain sphere of influence and power and simply exerted it in ways that were distinct from men’s strategies. By examining the character of all women, specifically Penelope and Phaedra, one can see how women applied their power and influence in both epics. First I will argue how in Ancient Greece, women struggle to find a place in society. Next I will discuss how Penelope uses clever charm to mess with men’s emotions while she is waiting for her husband to come home from battle. Finally, I will talk about how Phaedra uses her cunning charm just to get revenge on the nurse and Hippolytus and how Euripides clearly wanted to portray Phaedra as a cunning…show more content…
Unfortunately, women were still placed at a level that was far below man because men were known to be the “root of the family”. Plays were extremely prominent in Ancient Greece, and most of the parts of women in plays would be played by men. This is because all of the playwrights were men. The extremely rare cases in which women were used in plays was when they had to be models. Women in these plays were usually depicted by the role of a coward or a sinner. This is done on purpose to make the audience relate to a certain character and to make them think that women actually behaved like this. As a result, these characters would serve as a form of inspiration to other women as they know that there are more to women than simply just being cunning and evil. They would also however serve as a form of entertainment to men as they think that women don’t have much of a role in society. This would be significant to all the women who attend and watch the…show more content…
Penelope scolds the suitors for their actions by saying “… the way you suitors now behave is not the way that wooers are to take when the would vie in courting one who is a noblewoman” (Homer, 1996:370). Up until now, Penelope had been surprisingly quiet about the suitors. It can be argued by many that she may actually have a feeling that Odysseys is back from battle and that she is now using the suitors the same way they have been using her, for her wealth. This act of cleverness can also be observed by Odysseys being pleased by his wife deceiving the suitors with charming words, “while she had other things in mind” (Homer,

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