Women are Just as Important as Men
The Essential Odyssey is a one of a kind epic novel written by Homer, taking place in Ancient Greece. Women throughout the book assist in major events but, throughout this time women were made inferior to men and mostly dedicated to household duties and having children. Whether these women be represented by your common housewife, a Goddess, or even a regular maid, this book opens people’s eyes to new ideas about women and present the fact that women are just as important as men.
In The Essential Odyssey, Homer gives females positions of power while women in Ancient Greece were still rendered useless at the time, this made the book very unique and in a way showed people that women weren’t meant to be subservient to men, and actually play a crucial role in this story. Penelope, other than being Odysseus’ loving and caring wife, upon examination, you come to figure out that she is much more than that. While you could compare her to the ideal woman – one who demonstrates intelligence, loyalty, and faith – throughout the epic, she was struck with the challenge of waiting for her husband to return home. With no proof he was even still living, she had suitors lined up waiting for her to be remarried to. When he doesn’t return for 20 years, it’s easy to imagine the heartache and pain she endured. She constantly schemed ideas for delaying her marriage, and even had devised a way to figure out it was Odysseus, and not an imposter, after being apart for two decades. She demonstrates great faith throughout the whole novel by constantly waiting for Odysseus.
Penelope maintains her loyalty to her culture by not removing the suitors from her abode although she has no intention of remarriage. One way she stalls these suitors is by claiming she is weaving a burial shroud for her father Laertes, “Every day I would weave at the great loom, And every night unweave the web by torchlight, I fooled them for three years with my craft… (Homer, 170)”. Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and War, is the most powerful throughout the epic. Athena made seemed impossible happen and spent her time helping mortals. Being the Goddess of Wisdom made this job simple for her and being the Goddess of War made it even more perfect for her to assist Odysseus throughout his quest, and being able to relate to the trials he is put up against helps him through tough times. As a practical and confident Goddess, she also shows ingenious critical thinking skills which made her one of the biggest factors in Odysseus’ journey back to Ithaca.