Women in Homer’s Iliad

Examines the social, sexual, dramatic & moral roles in Greek epic. (Learn Also Essay Of Mice and Men)

Women in The Iliad serve as helpless pawns but also as a moral voice in the poem.
I. Introduction
A. Homeric poems may contain several layers due to revisions throughout history.
B. The Iliad is an epic poem about the manly heroic ideal.
II. Women in The Iliad serve as pawns in the Trojan War.
A. Helen is a pawn in the Trojan War.
B. All humans in the poem serve as pawns to the gods.
C. Aphrodite uses Helen as a pawn toward her own quest for power.
III. Women also serve as the moral center of The Iliad.
A. Helen recognizes her role in the Trojan War.
B. Andromakke reminds Hector of his obligations to his household.
C. Women have a voice through laments and dirges.
IV. Conclusion.
In Feminism in Greek Literature, F. A. Wright argues that Homeric poems were not written to suit the old Mediterranean people, whose rather low code of sexual morality inclined them to regard women as mere instruments of pleasure (7). Instead, the epic in its original shape was composed for the people who came down into Greece from central Europe and, therefore, recognized a much stricter code of sexual conduct (7). Wright believes that the apparently differing layers of the Homeric poems was caused by the constant revision of the poems as the ruling classes of Greece changed (8).
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