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The Role Of Women In Antigone And The Iliad

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The role of women in Antigone and The Iliad were completely opposite each other. Women during the time period of The Iliad weren't as independent as the women during the time period of Antigone. Women during the period of The Iliad were portrayed as objects; they were portrayed as not being equal to the role of a man in the household; not even if they were in some form of royalty. In Antigone women had a little bit more independency and a little bit more equality.

In The Iliad, a woman's role depended on her rank in society and her beauty. If a woman was married to a prince or a king, she was somewhat praised almost to the extent of a goddess. Her beauty was described in detail. Though most women were held in high ranks, they were demeaned if taken by a man who had little respect for her homeland. An example of this is when Chryses approached Agamemnon and Menelaus and begged for the return of his daughter in lines 13-36 on page 120. "Yes, Chryses approached the Achaeans' fast ships to win his daughter back, bringing a priceless ransom and bearing high in hand, wound on a golden staff, the wreaths of the god, the distant deadly Archer. He begged the whole Achaean army but most of all the two supreme commanders, Atreus' two sons, 'Agamemnon, Menelaus - all Argives geared for war! May the gods who hold the halls of Olympus give you Priam's city to plunder, then safe passage home. Just my daughter free, my dear one... here, accept these gifts, this ransom. Honor the god who strikes from worlds away - the son of Zeus, Apollo!' And all ranks of Achaeans cried out their assent: "Respect the priest, accept the shining ransom!" But it brought no joy to the heart of Agamemnon. The king dismissed the priest with a brutal order ringing in his ears: "Never again, old man, let me catch sight of you by the hollow ships! Not loitering now, not slinking back tomorrow. The staff and the wreaths of god will never save you then. The girl - I won't give up the girl. Long before that, old age will overtake her in my house, in Argos, far from her fatherland, slaving back and forth at the loom, forced to share my bed!'" This shows that women during this time were objects of entertainment, possessions, and so on. Though a ransom was offered by her father, Agamemnon only kept her just to show how powerful he was.



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