Portray the roles of women in three

Classical Work Essay, Research Paper

In general, ancient history depicted adult females as the inferior sex, because at that point intime, adult females were seen as existences simply born to bear kids. Men didn t think thatwomen were capable of being anything other than a typical homemaker; it wasunthinkable that a adult females would really necessitate an instruction, allow entirely gain a life, orbecome a leader. This thought is really evident throughout classical literature. Rarely was awoman seen making anything but being dominated by males in some signifier, whether shewas a adult male s sexual object, a submissive devoted married woman, or a adult female being punished fordoing what she believes is right. Three such adult females of classical literature are the harlotfrom The Epic of Gilgamesh, Andromache from Homer s The Iliad, and Antigone fromSophocles Antigone. This essay will discourse the functions, powers, and restraints on each ofthese three adult females in their societies. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the prostitute plays a major function. Gilgamesh realizes that, in order to interrupt Enkidu s power over the animate beings, he must acquire him to acknowledge his desirefor a adult female, the prostitute. The facet of the miss being a cocotte wouldn T be so bad initself, as it was her chosen profession, if it weren T for the manner the prostitute was treated. The trapper, who takes her into the wood, simply orders her to make her occupation: There he is. Now, adult female, do your chests bare, have no shame, do non detain but welcome his love. Let him see you naked, allow him possess your organic structure. When he comes near uncover yourself and lie with him; learn him, the barbarian adult male, your adult female s art ( pg 64 ) The mode in which he commands her is a clear representation of how work forces treatedwomen. He orders her around like an object he owns. Another chief point of thispassage is the fact that he tells her to make her adult female s art, or in other words, do whatyou make best. Mesopotamian work forces, every bit good as in other ancient civilizations, idea of womenas a sexual plaything; something to take and play with as one desires and to be put back on theshelf when finished with. Even worse, the prostitute accepts this with a smiling! By takingorders with a smiling, she wilfully accepts her place in society as being a sexual objectand nil more. In ancient Mesopotamian civilizations, adult females’s rights were non equal to those ofmen. However, in early periods adult females were free to travel out to the market places, purchase andsell, attend to legal affairs for their absent work forces, own their ain belongings, borrow andlend, and prosecute in concern for themselves. In Gilgamesh, though, the prostitute doesn thave every bit much power as most Mesopotamian married womans. However, in her ain right, she holdsmuch power over Enkidu, as she was the cause of his loss of control over the animate beings. We see through their interactions and all other interactions between males and females, that adult females s functions in this society are limited and their restraints are many, but they do hold a certain alone power over the opposite sex. In The Iliad, one of the most of import female figures in the drama is Hector s married woman, Andromache. One of the most of import issues about Grecian adult females is the fact that each

adult female is identified by their relation to a adult male.

For example Andromache is referred tonumerous time in the text as Andromache, wife of Hector. This implies that womenare nothing without men. Andromache is the embodiment of all ideals that make a good wife. Her love forHector is absolute, she bears and takes care of his child, and she willfully obeys herhusband. In a passage in Book VI of The Iliad, we learn of her love and obedience toHector. … and for me it would be far better to sink into the earth when I have lost you, for there is no other consolation for me after you have gone to your destiny–only grief; since I have no father, no honoured mother. (pg 164) Her plea to convince Hector to fight from the walls of Troy illustrates her total loyaltyand submission to her husband. She is saying I m nothing without you, which, onceagain, is the basis for which women think of themselves. Unlike the harlot, Andromache has no profession, which was overly commonamong Greek women. Their husbands would provide for them, if need be, but awomen s place was not in a profession. Greek women s place in the world was to bearchildren not make money. Another Greek work with one of the strongest female roles ever, is Antigone.Antigone is portrayed as a female true to herself.. She stands up for what she believes isright and is not phased by severe punishment; even death as long as she supports whatshe is dying for. This is shown when she buries her slain brother Polynices. She burieshim because she thinks that he deserves a respectable burial like the one Eteoclesreceived. She does this even under the threat of death, which shows just how much she iswilling to sacrifice for what, in her opinion, is right. This behavior was almost unthinkable in that period, because women were stillinferior, and they were never thought of as being capable to think for themselves. Theywere expected to follow along with the male role (in this case, Creon) and do everythinghe says. However, in doing what she believed to be the right thing, Antigone does theone thing that is forbidden. Creon cannot let her live because she is a woman, so hedecides she will be put to death. In one point, Creon says that a woman s proper place in society is locked up. Atanother point, he says that women lure men by sex. This is the general conception ofwomen–good wives and lovers, but they need to keep to their own business. Women in this society had very little power. They couldn t leave their houses–theirhusbands feared they would commit adultery, they couldn t voice their opinions freely;they were simply under their husbands total control. Women in ancient times were dominated by men in every aspect. In all societies,especially Mesopotamian, Greek, and Roman, women were treated like property. Theattitude of men toward women was rooted in the desire to control human reproduction,nothing more. They were expected to raise the children, supervise the preservation andpreparation of food, weave cloth to make clothing, direct the work of the householdslaves, and nurse their husbands when they were ill. Women didn t realize that this wasunfair, so they accepted it and became used to it, and therefore, that is why this systemexisted.

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