The Portrayal Of Women In World Literature

The position of women in literature and daily life has changed over the years. It is hard to say the degree that it has changed.

We are seeing and hearing about the women from the Middle East. They are to be covered from head to toe so that the men in their society will not be tempted. The Taliban has not allowed the women to work or be educated after 8 years of age. These types of actions are hard to digest but have been going on for thousands of years.

In Greek literature, men played the parts of women in their plays. This was an accepted practice. Unfortunately, most of the evidence of the treatment of women came from men. There are some poets who thought men would be better off without the curse of women. These men were called misogynists. One particular poet, Hesiod, considered women to be a curse that came from the first woman, Pandora. She was a gift to man from an angry Zeus. Pandora was never really born but had been crafted. Pandora was, therefore, considered unnatural.

In Athens, women were thought of as modern day "housewives , their place in the home. They would take care of the children, cook, spin weave and manage the servants. The servants would do any chores that required them to leave the house such as getting water and going to the market. Women were thought to be a liability, at least among the middle class. Women were thought of as property and when they would leave their home, had to be escorted.

There were, however, a few women had made their mark. Sappho, a poet and teacher of Lesbos, was one of them. She proved herself worthy by winning a verse competition five times against Pindar. Sappho joined the expedition of the Persians led by Xerxes against Greece. The Greeks offered a bounty for her head.

The Greeks had arranged marriages and often times the daughters, without a brother, would be married to a close relative such as a cou

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