In learning about the feminist movement, we studied the three articles and discussed and reviewed the different authors perspectives on the topic and learned how important the role of woman in Greek Mythology. In presenting the feminist theory to the class we analyzed the three articles, Women in Ancient Greece; Women in Antiquity: New Assessments; and Women in Greek Myth, and discussed how although the three articles provided different views on Feminism in mythology, they all essentially are aiming to teach the same basic concept.
In order to understand the feminist theory, we have to understand the notions that although myths are invented and that they involve fantasy, the concept of mythology does not necessarily imply that there is no truth of history in them. Some of the humans may have lived while some of the events may have taken place. Most importantly, the social customs and the way of life depicted in the myths are a valuable representation of Greek society.
In considering the relationship between the meanings of myths and their representation of women, we learned that the major role in shaping the narratives was played by men.
Myths reveal to us the experiences of women living in the patriarchal society and we gain the symbol value accorded to women and we came to realize what the term “Woman” meant to the ancient Greek man.
Reading through the various stories on Goddesses and queens, monsters and
Princesses, we learn that there are three major levels of women in Greek Mythology.
The first level is composed of the divine beings known as the goddesses. The goddesses
Played a vital role in Greek society for they were responsible for many aspects of Greek
life, i.e. birth, harvest, etc. Accompanying the 6 major goddesses (Hera, Athena, Aphrodite, Hestia, Demeter and Artemis) we have the lesser divinities such as the Muses, the Graces, the Fates, etc.
The second level of women used in Greek mythology is that of the human. Myths feature women from many different social classes depicting the different roles women play in society. Surprisingly, the only women with starring roles are queens and princesses, i.e. (Helen, Medea, Clytmnestra).
The third and final level of women in Greek mythology is that of the monster. These monsters are part woman and part animal and mainly depict the fears of woman inside the head of the man, i.e. The Gorgons, Sphinx, harpies, etc.
Although it may appear that the woman depicted in Greek Mythology are all held with less regard, usually depicted as the problems of society (Pandora, Helen), we can clearly say that some were there as benefactors to humanity (Athena, Hestia, Demeter) and have positive roles.
Ancient woman do not appear to have complained about the kind of lives they led. They regarded the customs and laws that governed their lives as suitable and natural.
No ancient author, male or female, fails to attribute to women their share of intelligence but none suggests that it is possible or desirable for women to adopt any pattern of existence other that those traditionally assigned to them, or to put it simply, to live in a society without men. Both men and women have their roles in life, and even in Greek mythology, but understanding the role of women in mythology ensures the better understanding of the fundaments of Greek Mythology.
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