I lie upon my bed with my afflicted heart, besieged by tears so stubborn and so sharp that, even as I mourn, tear me apart (Odyssey 19. 610-13). The preceding quote made by the heartbroken and devoted Penelope in Homers the Odyssey shows an intensity of feeling that is lacking within his earlier work, the Iliad. It is amid the latter epic that the female roles are able to step into the limelight and express the befitting emotion that give the Odyssey a philanthropic feel.
Therefore it is the female characters within the Odyssey that incorporate attention to compassion because they demonstrate greater ltruistic expression than men especially here when compared with the Iliad. In the Iliad the dominant role is played by men hence women had to wait backstage to prove their own complexity of character. The highly regarded ancient Greek society was overseen by the males, that is, the women werent involved unless they had permission by the men.
Women were valued — the Iliad opens with the Achaian armys capturing of two beautiful enemy maidens, Chryseis and Briseis, who are then awarded as prizes to Agamemnon — but, in comparison to men, their concerns werent as proclaimed in early epic poetry. In the Iliad, for example, Hektor orders Andromache back into the house during the ensuing Trojan War: Go home, attend to your own handiwork at the loom and spindle, and command the maids to busy themselves, too. As for the war, that is for the men, all who were born at Ilion, to put their minds on — most of all for me (Iliad 6. 36- 40).
Hektor also desires his own baby son to be a great warrior rather than being active in domestic affairs as he prays: O Zeus and all immortals, may this child, my son, become like me a prince among the Trojans. Let him be strong and brave and rule in power at Ilion; then someday men will say this fellow is far better than his father! eeing him home from war, and in his arms the bloodstained gear of some tall warrior slain — making his mother proud (Iliad 6. 419-27).
Ironically, just before Hektor made this plea to the gods his baby squirmed round… nd began to wail, terrified by his fathers great war helm and thereafter was comforted by his mothers fragrant breast as she held and cherished her small son. ) Later when Hektor becomes frightened of the realness of encountering Achilles he says, Aye, then and there hell kill me, unprotected as I am, my gear laid by, defenseless as a woman (Iliad 22. 149-51). However, its in the Odyssey that a man puts his trust — his own lifes safety — in a woman to direct and protect him on his arduous journey.
The men of the Iliad are incredibly jealous creatures whereas in the Odyssey they show sensitivity that rivals that of the women who have enhanced their shrewdness. Achilles gets angry because Agamemnon acquires the best war prizes without fairly earning them: You [Agamemnon] thick-skinned, shameless, greedy fool!.. . . Never have I had a plunder like your own from any Trojan stronghold battered down by the Akhaians. I have seen more action hand to hand in those assaults than you ave, but when the time for sharing comes, the greater share is always yours. Worn out with battle I carry off some trifle to my ships (Iliad 1. 175-196).
Achilles later sits and weeps childishly to his mother, Thetis, over his prize being rewarded to his adversary. Thetis actually feels responsible for her sons misery as she declares, Oh early death! Oh broken heart! No destiny so cruel! And I bore you to this evil! (Iliad 1. 481-2). The mother never scolds her son. In contrast, Odysseus becomes more empathetic throughout the Odyssey because Athena brings out a new humaneness within the hero. Odysseus efrains from gloating after he kills the suitors that have overtaken his palace and scolds his maid for rejoicing: Old woman, check yourself; you must restrain your joy — dont shout aloud.
It is profane to let your voice exult when men are slain (Odyssey 22. 480-83). His selfless attitude gives the poem passion, warmth, and balance all of which set it apart from the tone of harshness within the Iliad. Theres little opposition from the female characters while the revengeful men of the Iliad are constantly fighting one another whereas in the Odyssey battle is less of a solution and more of a last resort due to the ramification of emales having voice.
Homers theme of the Iliad is of a mans wrath: Anger be now your song, immortal one, Achilles anger, doomed and ruinous… Iliad 1. 1-2). Achilles truly fights out of extreme vengeance: My greatest friend is gone: Patroklos, comrad in arms, whom I held dear above all others — dear as myself — now gone, lost; Hektor cut him down, despoiled him of my own arms, massive and fine, a wonder in all mens eyes.. . . I must reject this life, my heart tells me, reject the world of men, if Hektor does not feel my battering spear tear the life out of him, making him pay in his own blood for the slaughter of Patroklos! Iliad 18. 89-105).
Thetis, Achilles mother, warns her son protectively but despite her advice to circumvent battle stubborn Achilles chooses to risk his own precious life because of his attachment to the slain Patroklos. Achilles continues to articulate, Now I must go to look for the destroyer of my great friend.. . . Do not attempt to keep me from the fight, though you love me; you cannot make me listen (Iliad 18. 131-47). His dedicated mother realizes she cant change Achilles mind hence she promises to acquire new armor to protect her son in combat.
Remarkably, after Hektor fleas his enemy, Athena actually encourages the progression of battle between the two men in the Iliad. The goddess tricks Hektor into believing hell have help when dueling Achilles yet she returns Achilles spear to him when he misses stabbing Hektor: This way, by guile, Athena led him on.. . . He [Achilles] twirled and cast his shaft with its long shadow. Splendid Hektor, keeping his eye upon the point, eluded it by ducking at the instant of the cast, so shaft and bronze shank passed him overhead and punched into the earth.
But unperceived by Hektor, Pallas Athena plucked it out and gave t back to Achilles (Iliad 22. 292-329). In contrast, its within the Odyssey that Athena stops warfare on Ithaca by taking the initiative of discussing peace with Zeus now that Odysseus has had his revenge. Her father, king of gods, grants her permission to end the fighting. Athena addresses the crowd of warriors: This gruesome war has lasted long enough. Stop now, shed no more blood, and stand apart (Odyssey 24. 4-5).
The goddess good will accordingly saved many lives. The Odyssey also intertwines females aiding males and thus the women now have a more profound part which enables them to display progressive intricacy. A prime example is how Athena assists Odysseus in several feats during this saga. When Odysseus is sailing from Calypso, Poseidon, who is hateful of the wanderer, becomes angry and makes a raging storm upon which Odysseus little boat capsizes.
Odysseus is left straining to live until Athena prompts him to keep moving: His skin would have been flayed, his bones been smashed, had not Athena spurred his wits to act: he rushed to seize a rock with both hands and, groaning, gripped it till the surge had passed. So he escaped the wave; but its backwash caught him; it pounded hard; it hurled him far into the open sea. . . And trapped within that backwash of the brine, Odysseus would have died before his time had not gray-eyed Athena counseled him (Odyssey 5. 510-23).
Athena also ensures sweet sleep upon her favorite as to free the man of trials from harsh fatigue. Penelopes weeping over remembering her lost husband is also quieted by the kind goddess. However, while theres still a certain sense of looking down on being a female — Athena often disguises herself as a male in order to forward her mission of helping Odysseus — it is a heroine in the end that ultimately succeeds in accomplishing the provided asks: Returning the wandering Odysseus to his wife, reestablishing him as king, punishing Penelopes suitors, and dodging a civil war on Ithaca.
The roles portrayed by women within the Odyssey are far more understanding and charitable as a result of their individual voices finally being heard. Without the graceful consideration of the amorous female characters within Homers latter epic poem the story would have a shortcoming — the feeling of humaneness would be missing. Its the same benevolent manner that draws attention inward and captivates emotions of affinity thus commensurating the saga.