The Odyssey

Women and Weaponization College

The agency women possess in The Odyssey and The Book of Genesis is harbored in their traditional domestic skills. These domestic skills, while underestimated by men in regards to the Greeks and Israelites, often play an essential role in the development of the plot in both narratives by using their dexterity in an unconventional way. This weaponization of domestic skills presented by Penelope and Nausicaa in The Odyssey advances Odysseus's nostos (homeward return), while in The Book of Genesis, Rachel uses her womanly knowledge to her advantage in order to advance her conscious agenda.

The first example readers are presented within The Odyssey is the clever use of Penelope's domestic skills in order to trick the suitors and delay their courtship. She explains the suitors that she wishes to make a winding-sheet to bury Laertes in. She uses an appeal to emotion and gives the suitors a bit of hope by letting them think she might marry one of them if she finishes the sheet. "I know you want to marry me. You must be patient; I have worked hard to weave this winding-sheet to bury good Laertes when he dies… the women would reproach me if he were buried with no shroud" (Od. 2.99-104). She weaves and unweaves the sheet for three years....

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