The Role of Woman in Ancient Time

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The role of woman in each of these works play a significant role in each yet they are all portrayed in different aspects. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a very old story yet still the role of women in the story is very much important. You can get the idea that it might actually not be so old since it shows that woman’s role as that of in today’s society.

If you take it from the biological perspective, the females are the heart and the brain.

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They are the ones that decide what happens in the story and what happens next. The female’s actions allow the male characters to go after all their goals and they also usually know what needs to be done before anyone else does.

One of these examples is shown when the mother of Gilgamesh speaks to Gilgamesh, “The stars are like heaven, what kept fallen upon you…your caressing it like a woman.” (line 255-260) this was once Gilgamesh told his mother about his dream. The woman in the Epic of Gilgamesh is very powerful as well. Some of them are seen as goddesses that have power over everything in this world. The one that created mankind and everything after was Enkidu and she was a woman, a goddess called Aruru. It is not a coincidence that she is known as “the great one”.

Another huge aspect of the role of a woman is their position in their relationships. Females are equal to men and present the calmer and compassionate attributes into the relationship. If there is a problem that should be discussed and fixed with a male character, it is the female character who helps the male get to the right conclusion and helps make the right decision. All the female characters are needed in this part of the society because they bring balance into life. Their virtues, like love and compassion, calm down the male excitement to do things.

The role of women in Homer’s Epic poems is to show how important women are to the lives of the men. Most of the women are determined and sharp. For the most part, they are treated with dignity and respect from the men. However, they do play a secondary role to the male characters. All men desire women. Homer talks about their beauty in so much detail.

In the Odyssey, Odysseus would not have made it through his 20-year journey had it not been for Penelope, his wife. Penelope displayed loyalty, trust, pride, and cleverness. “No, the deathless gods destroyed my looks …my good name and my beauty.” (lines 249-253, book 18) This shows Penelope was the ideal woman. She had many men that wanted her hand in marriage she remained loyal to Odysseus and was very patient in his return, even though, she was not sure if he would ever return back from the Trojan war.

It seems that Homer intentionally portrays women to have a very important role in The Odyssey, as well as The Iliad. Women in these poems are very powerful, wise, and wise. I think Homer’s main goal was to compare the differences between male and female roles while making it obvious how important women were to the men. In the Iliad, Helen is one of the most important characters. Women had the power over a man and his emotions, such as aggression, kindness, rage, pride, and jealousy. Often you see men losing their honor over the female character.

Oedipus the King was written in and around the 400 B.C by a man called Sophocles. The role of a woman was treated lower class human beings to that of men. At the beginning of the story, the mother of Oedipus, Jocasta, who is the queen still does household duties of a wife like a woman should in those times, it does not matter if you are the queen or a peasant you still have that role. Despite Jocasta who lives in a society where patriarchy is the dominant view, she plays a very prominent role.

Jocasta is also seen to be worthy,” He will come; but, Oedipus, I think I am worthy too…that disquiets you.” (line 839-841) Jocasta referees a fight between Oedipus and Creon, a role that is hardly played by women in the patriarchal societies as it gives the woman a lot of power by deciding the outcome of a battle. Although her role is not very distinct in the story, Jocasta emerges as an influential woman in her society.” Quote”

the woman who has a big role in Oedipus the King is the daughter of Oedipus called Antigone. She makes her own choices as well as decisions and no-one can influence her to change her choices, not even her father Oedipus. Her purposefulness may be altered due to the fact that her father put a curse on her which has brought her down, made her have negative feelings towards life but with all that it has made her tough.

A woman in these societies that Jocasta and Antigone live in tend to obey and listen to men since they are in a patriarchal society. Antigone is shown to be more of a well-known role in Oedipus the King as she questions the great Creon about his laws as she thinks that it can not override the traditions as well as the Gods. This is very uncommon for a woman to stand up against a king and by Antigone doing this, it can bring huge punishment towards her.

Work ?ited

  1. Puncher, Martin. “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” The Norton Anthology of world literature. Ed. Martin Puchner. Vol. A. USA: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc, 2018. 99
  2. Puncher, Martin. “Homer, The Odyssey Book 18.” The Norton Anthology of world literature. Ed. Martin Puchner. Vol. A. USA: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc, 2018. Page 531, Lines 249-253)
  3. Puncher, Martin. “Oedipus the King.” The Norton anthology of world literature. Ed. Martin Puchner. Vol. A. USA: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc, 2018. Page707, Lines 239-241)
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The Role of Woman in Ancient Time. (2019, Jun 25). Retrieved from