Objectification of Women in the Odiysseus
How it works
The Odyssey is filled with stories including powerful, and weak women. Women are negatively portrayed throughout the Odyssey. The story highlights all the negative traits of women at the time and clearly indicates double standards. Female power and worth are not highly talked about in the Odyssey.
Men are always played as the dominant role no matter how powerful the women are. Women are degraded to the status of an object, without regard to their personality. Women like Penelope and Calypso, are two of the most objectified people in the Odyssey.
Penelope is Ithaca’s most desired woman. However she is still objectified by men such as, Odysseus, the servants, suitors, and even her own son Telemachus. She is seen as an object to be married off and she actually has no choice in marriage. Without Odysseus, she doesn’t have a husband, and a Queen must rule with a King. Penelope repeatedly tells the suitors that she will marry one of them one day, but comes up with various reasons why she cannot make her choice yet. This is very clear to the readers that she simply does not want to remarry. She had no way of demanding the suitors leave the palace. It was a sign of respect to allow strangers to live in her home. The suitors took advantage of her kindness. The servants no longer respected her, and the suitors themselves think of her as an object. Even though Penelope is the Queen of Ithaca, she didn’t have much power, or as much as we would think she has.
Penelope’s son Telemachus, is another individual that considers Penelope as an object. In various ways he treats her as less or less powerful. He gives her commands and tells her what to do. This isn’t how a son should treat his mother. Even though Telemachus is a prince, he still has power over Penelope. Men are seen as godlike and powerful. This is called Patriarchy, where men were always put above women. Women are supposed to entertain men and please them. Men are always suppose to be right, so they can tell women what to do and have control. An example of this is when Penelope is found weaving to setback her marriage, she is seen as the wrong and evil one. Not the men who were partying in her home, drinking everywhere and trashing it. No matter what men will always be in a way “on top” and treated better.
Calypso is a beautiful nymph, the daughter of Atlas and rules over an island. Calypso was one to always try to please Odysseus. She honored and valued him. He did not value Calypso and did nothing for her at all. He was still in love with his wife Penelope. Calypso truly loved him, but he doesn’t love her. He was just using her for her body. Calypso is so in love with Odysseus, that she offers him immortality to make him stay on the island with her instead of returning home. She even let him stay on her island for several years, saving his life. Women are expected to please and entertain men. Calypso is always trying to honor Odysseus, but he never shows the same type of appreciation to her. He simply just think of her as an object and only uses her for his own sexual interest.
Homer’s Odyssey portrayed women as weak and objects. Women’s worth and power was not valued at all. Characters in the Odyssey and the book itself, are sexist and objectifying toward women. Penelope and Calypso are the two biggest victims of objectification. To conclude, the Odyssey has a negative view on women.