Looking back on women in ancient civilizations we see a variety of different ways in which they have been regarded. In ancient Greece, women were mostly subservient to men; yet, in writing the Odyssey Homer gives us a slightly broader outlook on a woman’s role in society. Not only does Homer expose his reader to human females as well as goddesses. In most ancient stories women are not crucial to the plot. In Homer’s two works the Iliad and Odyssey there is a special importance put on the women; the stories would not be the same without them. Because of this importance on women and their roles the reader is encouraged to take a deeper look into the natural and super natural world that Homer presents. He has a tendency to describe women no just by their physical beauty, but also how they sound and act and in doing so the reader is able to see certain underlying qualities in the men. .
The Iliad is very much like the Odyssey in the way its women reflect on the men in the novel. Homer uses Andromache’s appearance to show Hector as a person and build him up as a great man. Hector and his wife’s relationship is shown by her approach, “Andromache came close to him with her tears falling, and took his hand and spoke to him” (Homer, Martin Hammond, trans., The Iliad (Penguin Books) verse 5:396). This description states that Hector had a close relationship with his wife. Homer lets the reader know that this tough army leader has a softer more human home life. One other important description is made and that is of the Agrive Helen. The elders note that, “.she is fearfully like the immortal goddess to look at” (Iliad, 3:151). In saying this they show understanding of Paris’s decision to steal her away and yet, they understand why the Achaians want her back. It puts the whole war into perspective and justifies what these men are dying for, even though it may in the reader’s eyes be slightly foolish.
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