Gender Roles in Greek Mythology Name Subject Instructor Date It is noticeable in many ancient tales to typify gender roles—with men on supremacy, and women left in the home to serve the needs of the family. In the Greek mythology, however, different points of view are apparent: some writer support the above contention while the others insist that women are capable of manly endeavors, and that their roles are not tied in the usual domestic setting…
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Similarly, certain accounts in the Greek mythology have demonstrated women rising to power and holding administrative responsibilities. Nonetheless, many characters still portray the typical womanly traits—tame and submissive to their husbands. Gender Biases in Greek Mythology Shepard (2010) explains that the traditional gender roles are entrenched in the ancient cultural myth of male superiority, and started as a myth in the first writings of the early Greeks between the 7th and 8th century B.C. The poet Hesiod is believed to have pioneered the typical character of the male gods and the social structure of daily life.1 While in some versions of the Greek mythology, Zeus and all the other gods are described to encompass human flaws, Hesiod identifies Zeus as an all-knowing god2 the embodiment of the God we recognize today. He insisted that Zeus was aware of Prometheus’ intention to steal fire, yet he allowed the deception to achieve its result.3 In the Greek Mythology by Simone Payment, Zeus did not believe that man deserved fire, and the clever Prometheus was tortured for years by an eagle that ate his liver each day it grew back.4 The classical heroes were described as strong-willed and noble, whereas the women had no place in the battlefield. Women were worshipped for their beauty, and acts of boldness were deemed inappropriate. For instance, with no hopes of Odysseus ever returning to Ithaca, his wife Penelope was compelled to choose a new husband to oversee their people and riches.5 Princes from around the kingdom gathered to prove their worth, and in spite of their malevolent behavior, Penelope was still counted on to remain the decorous mistress, hospitable and prudish. In addition to requiring hard work for subsistence, the myth goes, Zeus created woman as the carrier of all the evils that she eventually unleashed on men. 5The story of Pandora tells of the first woman created by the gods, and whose curiosity was a curse to mankind—opening the jar she was forbidden to unseal.6 Gender Equality in Greek Mythology Other scholars of the mythology argue that gender is presented as less important than in reality: women could be warriors, men could live as women, and even physical sex could change.7 Athena was the Greek goddess of war and wisdom; she was a woman that possessed all the esteemed qualities of her male equivalent. Artemis, goddess of the hunt, was all female in her physical features, but was seriously dangerous when provoked. Tiresias, the blind prophet, was transformed into a woman and lived as one for years. This happened right after he assaulted two mating serpents, killing the female one.8 On the other hand, reality and power were configured according to gender, and the roles of the female gods were those that befit the structures of society.9 Supremacy of all divine and mortal creatures was bestowed upon the mighty Zeus, and the goddesses were expected to regard the gods as superior. The goddesses were deemed capable of love, loyalty, nurture, and companionship, as well as jealousy, rage, manipulation, and murder.10 Hera, queen of the Olympians and goddess of birth and marriage was who the people pray for a tranquil family life. A devoted wife to Zeus, and typically jealous of his affairs, Hera was known to cast evil upon her rivals and ...
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