The Role of Women in Ancient Times Analytical Essay

The Role of Women in Ancient Times
A look at the roles of women in ancient times through an examination of ancient literature by Hesiod, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Homer, Virgil, and Aristotle.
# 2276 | 3,470 words | 12 sources | MLA | 1999 | US
Published on Oct 16, 2001 in Literature (Greek and Roman) , Women Studies (General) , History (General)

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This paper analyzes several pieces of ancient literature in order to shed some light on the roles that women played in ancient times and how they were viewed by society. The paper examines Hesiod's "Theogony" and "Works and Days", Sophocles' "Antigone", Aristophanes' "Lysistrata", Homer's "Odyssey", Virgil's "Aeneid" and Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics". The paper concludes that, while the heroines and major female characters in these ancient works are certainly worth examination and study, it must be remembered that they are unrealistic in the light of normal ancient life, and that in reality women were barely given any attention at all.

From the Paper:

"In ancient times, and in ancient Greece most of all, women were usually treated almost as less than human. Men seemed to deal with them as a necessary evil that was kept around for the sole purpose of providing sons. As F.G. Naerebout says, "Whatever else [they] may do - weaving, spinning, directing the female staff - is a pleasant extra (Naerebout 124)." Yet this was not always the case. There are cases in ancient writings where women are shown in a positive light, even cases where women are heroes. Here we shall examine separately each work in which women played a major role, either positive or negative."

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