Women In The Odyssey The Penelopiad

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The Odyssey is an epic poem by Homer. It is a story of the journey of Odysseus coming back to his wife and son in Ithaca after being away from them for 20 years. The ancient Greeks valued strength, bravery, wit, great stories and beauty. So this tale is centred on a male who holds all of those traits. This epic tale has been an inspiration for many literary creations including Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad. Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad is a feminist approach from the point of view of Odysseus’ wife Penelope to balance out the tale of the male centric tone of the Odyssey. Like the Odessey the Penelopiad is written from the view of a major character but unlike the Odyssey its narrator is Penelope. Atwood provides a different perspective of gender…show more content…
In the introduction to the Penelopiad she says ‘I’ve always been haunted by the hanged maids’ of the Odyssey. She also says that she wants to know ‘what led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to? Homer glorifies men and shows them as brave, intelligent and handsome. He uses terms like ‘admirable King ‘ (Homer 5: 11) ‘lion hearted’ (5:80) ‘nobel’(5:198)and ‘ingenious’(5:204). Homer barely mentions the maids until the moment Odysseus murders them all. Odysseus reflected Greek society of the time in the Odyssey, he presented the ancient men of the time that the epic poem was written. It was accepted in the Odyssey that Penelope would remarry if she didn’t have a husband, it was not usual for a woman to be widowed and in charge of her own property. Property belonged to men and women had no charge over it even if it was her own family inheritance. Penelope was a representation of the ideal woman at the time in Ancient Greece. Attwood wanted to give Penelope and the 12 Maidservants a voice as in Homer’s version they had no voice and were nothing more than objects that were paid for by men. It’s the disregard that Homer seems to have for the women that inspires Atwood’s spin on the story. “ The Maids: you’ve forgotten about us! What about our case? You can’t let him off! “ (M. Atwood; pg177) In

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