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The Essential Role of Goddess in Homer’s the Iliad and the Odyssey


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The Essential Role of Goddess in Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey

Just as women were viewed as inferior to men during Homer’s era, a first glance at Homer’s epics The Iliad and The Odyssey portrays goddesses as inferiors to gods. Despite the era’s bias to men, the goddesses are of equal importance to the plot of his stories as the gods. The goddesses play vital roles as either helpers or nightmares to men by often determining the results of an action. Homer did not establish the goddesses in his epics merely as minor structures to blend in the background. Rather, he established dynamic goddesses who were both powerful and intelligent. In fact, in many ways the goddesses controlled the gods by having an influence in their decisions and actions through manipulation, persuasion and guidance. By influencing the gods, the goddesses also played a large role as shepherds for human fate. The goddess’s constant intervention in the mortals’ lives was driven by favoritism, love or sexual desires, and their pity for the weak.
Although the goddesses are often restricted from doing as they wish by the gods, they have proven, in many occasions, to overpower the gods through manipulation. Goddesses were often told what to do by the gods. Tasks such as delivering messages from Zeus were often carried out by Athena. Just as Hector told his wife, “Go home, attend to your own handiwork at loom and spindle, and command the maids to busy themselves, too. As for war, that is for men, all we were born at Ilion,” we see Zeus putting Aphrodite, the most feminine of the goddess, in her place, “Warfare is not for you, child. Lend yourself to sighs of longing and the marriage bed. Let Ares and Athena deal with war.” The role of women in the immortal life is much like that of the mortals, in the sense that males often see females as the lesser gender. Immortal women and mortal women can

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