The Odyssey

Women’s History Through the Lens of Literature: Homer, Plato, and Dante College

As long as history has been recorded, a woman’s role in society was dictated by man, for a long time women accepted this patriarchy. This arrangement can be seen in different societies and cultures throughout history; after all, the great literature that is studied in academia serves as evidence to the way ancient society treated women. Ancient Greek society’s treatment of females is preserved in Homer’s epic tales like The Odyssey. The Medieval idea of the different women of society can be seen in Dante’s work. Additionally, literature shows the early champions of feminism like Plato, who gives the greatest lines of his Symposium to a woman. Indeed, literature tends to accurately reflect the social gender norms of the time and the challenges these norms created for women. The goal of this paper is to analyze gender social norms as illustrated in The Odyssey, The Inferno, and The Symposium. Additionally, this paper will outline the rise of gender equality and the feminist movement.

Women in ancient Greek society formed the lowest class of citizens—they were considered property and they were there to serve a specific purpose. Marriage in ancient Greek society was not the bringing together of a loving couple, but a contract...

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