GB PAPER - Heather Fackelman Great Books and Ideas...

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Heather Fackelman December 17, 2007 Great Books and Ideas Professor Chang The Role of Women: My Final Thesis From the time of the Trojan War and even earlier, the role of the female has been a  controversial one, a role that has always been considered less worthy than that of the male.  As women have continued to be oppressed throughout the centuries, they have  successfully fought for and gained rights through educating themselves and committing  themselves to making themselves equal to men.  Women were treated as inferiors until  they found their place in society and became more empowered.  The role of the woman has  progressed and changed drastically from the time of the Trojan War up until today, and  this is due to their fight for civil rights. During the time of the Trojan War, women were socially and intellectually  suppressed.  It was unheard of for a woman to be educated, have a job, or own property.  Women were expected to remain at home and wait for their husbands and family  faithfully.  Especially because of the war, women were expected to tend to their soldiers—
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those in their family who were serving in the war.  This is clearly exemplified in the  dialogue between Hector and his mother: Hector, my son…stay here while I get you some honey-sweet wine, so you can  pour a libation to Father Zeus first and the other immortals, then enjoy some  yourself, if you will drink.” Hector’s mother is expected to serve his every need, as he is showing valor and ultimately  sacrificing his life for the war.  Mothers and wives were expected to be dedicated to  serving their men, a role of servitude. Women, during this time, were treated as objects –prizes for the worthiest,  strongest, and most valiant man.  It is shown in the very cause of the war, Helen of Troy.  Helen of Troy is said to be the object of “the most love stories of all time,” and essentially,  she is single-handedly as “the face that launched a thousand ships.”  Helen was married to  Menelaus, and when Paris came to claim the wife promised to him by Aphrodite, it is said  that she willingly left her husband to be married to Paris.  As any man would be, Menelaus  was furious when he came to find that his wife was gone, and he “called upon all suitors to  fulfill their oaths,” thus beginning the Trojan War.  Helen was treated as some prize  trophy, and the best man would win her.  Clearly, women during this time period were  neither empowered nor independent of their husbands.
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  • Fall '07
  • Chang
  • Civil Rights, National Women Suffrage Association, Helen

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